Amid speculation about his future, Valtteri Bottas says he feels he is nearing the peak of his abilities and Mercedes “would be different” if he wasn’t there.
“I don’t know any driver as well as I know myself and my driving skills, so it’s always hard to comment,” the Finn said.
“You never know with the performance of the other teams how they really are and against their teammate it is quite tricky to know.
“But I’m confident to say I am a good asset for the team and it definitely would be different if I wasn’t here. I’m confident with my driving skills, but I don’t make the decisions.
“The future will show.”
There have been rumours that Bottas and his management have already been talking to other teams about a possible future with them, if Mercedes decides to let him go. The Finn doesn’t want to confirm or deny that.
“I prefer to keep that to myself – maybe I haven’t and maybe I have. But I have many people behind me and for sure they have not been just resting at home and doing nothing.
“So of course, you need to get a sense of what is available out there and what are the possibilities.
“I have a feeling that I have not been told exactly how far discussions have been in other places, because I am focussing on the racing, but I am sure there will be plenty of time to discuss that during the break.
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“And if it’s needed for me to speak with other teams then, then I will.”
He was then asked if he could picture himself in a different team.
“Of course I can, but it would be different. It’s already my fifth year with the team and it feels like everything works well as a team and with Lewis we can work together.
“For sure, it would be something completely different.”
Bottas has been driving for Mercedes since 2017 on a series of one-year contracts. He admits that his performance for the team could have been better had he not been thinking about his contract status every year.
“It’s only speculation and it’s only guessing based on what I feel right now, but it definitely would have saved a lot of energy and a lot of extra unnecessary pressure and dealing with the media at certain times of the year.
“And that way there would have been more time and energy spent just working with team together on the future.
“Not just focusing on the moment, but knowing you are with the team and focusing on next year and all the improvements you want to share with the team for the future.
“For sure, it would have been a different peace of mind, but it is only speculation.”
Ultimately, the Finn has no regrets about his time with Mercedes.
“I have to say, I have no regrets. I have always tried everything I can, and the same thing this year.
“Obviously this year has not been the best start of the season with many races not getting points with DNFs or whatever, but no regrets at all and I have always tried to give it all I have.
“I have always tried to work as hard as I can. Even though every year so far I have been beaten by Lewis, I have always tried to find more ways in myself to come back stronger.”
Bottas now believes he is nearing the peak of his abilities and he thinks any team that he drives for will benefit from it.
“There is nothing holding me back at the moment. Definitely, I would say I feel like in my career I am peaking. I still haven’t reached that yet, there are always things I am learning and getting better at.
“I’ve definitely learned so much about myself in the recent years. As a driver and as a human being and being able to understand yourself and what works for you is important.
“I feel like nowadays whatever is thrown at me will not shake me and I feel like I am ready for anything and any kind of challenge in the future. Definitely I have learned a lot.
“I will try everything I can for myself and for the team for the future, whatever happens,” Valtteri concluded.