Valtteri Bottas is confident he is doing enough to retain his drive at Mercedes next year, even though he is 59 points off teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
Bottas was hoping to mount a title challenge in his second season with Mercedes but a combination of bad luck and reliability issues have seen him miss out on several opportunities. Most notable was a potential victory in Azerbaijan, but a collision with Sebastian Vettel in France and a hydraulics problem in Austria have also seen him drop valuable points.
Bottas doesn’t have a contract for 2019, but it is believed he has done enough to fend off a threat from Daniel Ricciardo for his Mercedes drive next year. Among Bottas’ achievements this season has been outqualifying Hamilton at four of the first ten races and he is confident the team has seen enough from him to warrant another season with the world champions.
“For sure it puts me in a decent place this year, and even though I’ve not scored the points I would have wanted I have always performed at the level the team requires me to do,” he said. “I’m more or less on the level I want personally. For sure that’s a good thing even though only the team sees in great detail how I perform every week.
“Having a few wins never does anything bad for you for the future but at least the team knows exactly how I’m performing and the direction I’m going with my improvement.”
Bottas believes he has improved overall compared to teammate Hamilton.
“I’ve felt I have been able to improve my weaknesses, and strengths. Overall performance has just been closer, there have been less big gaps between me and Lewis. No matter if the car’s been good to drive or very difficult to drive. I feel I’ve been able to extract what there is and it’s been quite close.”