Fresh from a one-year contract extension through 2018, Valtteri Bottas says he needs to again earn the Mercedes F1 seat he occupies.
Bottas had a solid start to 2017 — eight podiums and a pair of victories in the first nine races — while replacing retired Nico Rosberg. In the second half of the season, Bottas slumped and even experienced a stretch of three consecutive non-podium finishes.
„The season has been tough,“ Bottas said, insisting that Mercedes was pushed hard by both Ferrari and Red Bull this year. And with his teammate Lewis Hamilton winning nine races and the Formula 1 championship, Bottas admitted his two wins was not good enough.
„I was definitely hoping for more,“ Bottas said, „I am glad I have proven myself and the team signed me up again for next year. I couldn’t beat (Hamilton) this year, but I am working on my weaknesses. Next year’s going to be the same thing. I need to again prove if I am going to stay with the team for a long time.“
Notwithstanding his resolve to improve, Bottas said he has always felt the support of the Mercedes team.
„I didn’t have many issues with pressure as I felt the whole team was behind me,“ he said.