Valtteri Bottas’ start to the 2021 season was far from perfect. He has so far suffered two DNFs and failed to finish higher than P3.
Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix the Finn explains how he is dealing with his worst start to a season since he joined Mercedes.
“In the beginning of the season, definitely the mental strength has been tested,” said Bottas.
“It’s not been the easiest ride to start with, in the last few races, having two DNFs. So I would say there have been setbacks and it’s all about how you bounce back from those and how you move forward.
“The loser option is to give up and it’s not something I’m going to do. So still keeping very strong mentally and knowing that it’s a long, long season ahead and for sure many good battles to come and hopefully many wins.
“So I have full belief in myself and for us as a team that we still have time to do good things.”
And his luck seemed to be at an all-time low at the Monaco Grand Prix, when he had to retire due to Mercedes being unable to remove his front-right wheel.
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After the race Toto Wolff suggested Bottas stopped slightly out of position, which contributed to the issue. However the Finn says he was surprised by the comment.
“Yes, I was surprised. I saw the video and for me, it was pretty spot on where I stopped, so yeah, I was quite surprised.
“As a matter of fact, [pit stops were] one of my concerns already a few weeks [before] that I’d raised to the team, so it didn’t come from somewhere out of the blue.
“We knew that we were not perfect in pit stops, as we’ve seen, and also other areas like tyre warm-up in qualifying.
“I think I was, like, 2-3cm off the central line, and if you get that accuracy, normally it’s pretty good. It can easily swing by 10-15cm, so I thought it was pretty spot-on.”
Ultimately, Bottas wants to finally have a good result in Baku, but says himself and the team need to “do a perfect job to achieve that”.
“It’s a track I enjoy and the racing is always good in Baku. There have been pretty eventful races in history so I look forward to it.
“For sure the competition is tough, as we’ve seen, and in Monaco, Red Bull and Ferrari were both extremely fast, and also some other teams not far off.
“But it’s another street circuit, for sure a bit faster than Monaco, so I see no reason why [we can’t win], but we need to do a perfect job to achieve that,” concluded Bottas.