Lewis Hamilton says he couldn’t allow the ‘outside pressure’ of Valtteri Bottas’ improved performance affect him in 2019.
Although Hamilton won the 2019 drivers’ championship in the end, the beginning of the season promised a tougher fight with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas. The Finn, dubbed Bottas 2.0 by the media, won the opening race in Australia and showed improved performance and a new attitude, and Hamilton took notice.
“Qualifying was good in Melbourne but I lost the race,” Hamilton said.
“I had the damage and I fell back quite far. [The] first couple of races are usually not perfect for me. They’re still not bad, still better than average, but then there’s all the outside pressures of ‘Valtteri 2.0’ and I’m thinking, ‘We’re 2-2 at one stage, two wins apiece’.
“I’ve got to stay solid in my mind, I can’t allow the outside [factors to affect me]… but being human it’s very hard not to notice those things.”
However the Brit managed to rack up 8 race wins before the summer break. Hamilton describes how he went for consistency over “wow moments” in his 2019 campaign.
“More consistency within the race was really important for me. So other areas in just health aspects, weekend in, weekend out delivering.
“It’s crazy because we got to August and I’m thinking, ‘Jeez, I’ve had eight wins,’ and as a team we’ve had like 14 wins [Mercedes won 15 races in 2019] and you kind of forget those things because you’re just always looking forwards and time is always ticking.
“But it was not intentional not to wow. I’ve been searching for that ‘wow’ lap this year. And honestly I’ve had good laps but they’ve not shown in the order, necessarily.
“I think some of my second places that split up the Ferraris, for me felt like relatively quite ‘wow’ laps but because I wasn’t on pole by half a second it doesn’t appear that way for you.
“But for me internally it did,” concluded the Brit.