Valtteri Bottas says he plans to treat every race in the 2019 season as if it’s going to be his last in Formula 1 after a disappointing second year with Mercedes.
Bottas became the first Mercedes driver since Michael Schumacher in 2012 to go an entire season without recording a single victory, finishing fifth in the drivers’ standings 161 points adrift of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn has gone on record to label 2018 as his ‘worst year in racing’, and with Force India outcast Esteban Ocon waiting in the wings, is mindful he’s fighting to save his seat – but Bottas insists he’ll go all out to bounce back next season.
“This sport is funny, you never know what happens in the future,” said Bottas as quoted by Motorsport.com. “But I think the right mentality for me to approach next year is like I have nothing to lose.
“I just want to go for it and drive like I stole it, like it’s my last race, last day ever. So, yeah, I think that’s it. That’s a good plan.”
Although aware his own campaign was one that failed to deliver results expected of him, Bottas sighted his overall qualifying and race performances as a positive to take away from the year.
“I think the fact is, as a team, what we’ve analysed and what we spoke with the guys, qualifying pace and race pace, compared to my team-mate, has been better this year on average, which is positive, but the results haven’t,” he said.
“So all those things, we need to analyse why the results weren’t there. Obviously sometimes it was unlucky, sometimes were different reasons. But… yeah, I think performance-wise this year was better, but results-wise last year was better.”
Hamilton’s 11 wins and 11 pole positions propelled him to championship glory in comparison to Bottas’ two poles and no victories, however, the 29-year-old vows he has what it takes to beat the five-time champion.
“In this sport, when you’re kind of sometimes thinking of yourself, you’re thinking all kind of different things,” Bottas added. “The main thing is always the thought that I’ve got to be the strongest, and I’ve never told myself that I’m not good enough to do this.
“So… and I still believe so, even though I feel disappointed for the season, I know that I can do much more than what this season proves, and that is the main thing.”