The Bottas Empire: F1 star Valtteri on bouncing back after disappointing 2018

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-28 17:00:03|Editor: Yurou
Video PlayerClose

By sportswriter Michael Butterworth

BEIJING, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Finland's Valtteri Bottas says his only goal for 2019 is to win the Formula 1 world championship, and revealed his disappointment with his 2018 season.

While his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton romped home to his fifth world title, Bottas failed to win a single race and could only manage fifth overall in this season's drivers' standings.

Speaking on the sidelines of last weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bottas told Xinhua of his frustration at how 2018 had gone.

"The biggest challenge for me this season was the amount of disappointment," said the Finn. "In terms of the goals I had for the season, there were many setbacks, and sometimes many in a row, so trying to come back up after those was difficult."

Bottas's 2018 was pockmarked with bad luck, including in Azerbaijan where he suffered a puncture while leading the race with just two laps to go, and in Russia, where he was ordered to let Hamilton through in order to aid the Briton's championship bid.

However, the 29-year-old also came in for criticism over his lack of pace relative to Hamilton, notably after the Bahrain Grand Prix, where the Finn was accused of not being aggressive enough in his pursuit of race leader Sebastian Vettel, who was struggling with worn tyres.

Bottas became the first Mercedes driver to finish a season without a race win since Michael Schumacher in 2012, and now holds the dubious honor of most second place finishes in a single season without taking a win.

But despite an underwhelming set of results, the Monaco resident said he was determined to use the experience to bounce back strongly in 2019.

"2018 is not a season that will be high on my list and I won't remember the results that fondly, but it's a season that will definitely make me grow and be better and stronger. I've learned massively, which can help me in the future. The only goal [for next year] is trying to win the championship."

The Finn added that he drew inspiration from the achievements of his Mercedes predecessor Nico Rosberg, who edged out Hamilton to win the 2016 title, after the Briton had won the previous two.

"Lewis is a great driver. He's one of the best in terms of statistics, he's very talented and hardworking, and he is now also very experienced in terms of Formula 1, so he's going to be extremely tough to beat, but he's human as well, and there's no driver that's unbeatable."

Bottas added, "If I thought otherwise, I would want to change team and be someone else's teammate, but I don't want to because it motivates me. I know [beating Lewis] is possible, but doing it will require me to be at my best all the time, so that's something I will need to try to find over the winter break."