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Bottas: The pressure is on me to perform

NEWS STORY
05/10/2017

A clear dip in form, basically since he agreed a new one-year deal with Mercedes, has resulted in criticism of Valtteri Bottas. However, one of those criticising the Finn loudest is the man himself.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, following a poor showing in Malaysia, where he was effectively shown up by Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and then Sebastian Vettel, the Finn insists that he will learn from his mistakes.

"The only thing I want to do is perform, to try and meet my goals," he said, "and I definitely haven't been achieving those lately. That's why the feeling wasn't so positive after Malaysia.

"It's tricky," he continued, "because now, having such a good car, and with the potential for good results, the pressure is on me to perform.

Asked if the car has changed over the course of the year, become harder to drive, he said: "The compromises we needed to do in some circuits, to get it to the right window, has been quite a challenge sometimes to drive around. I think Lewis has been able to extract a bit more, sometimes with the set-up, sometimes with the driving style. It always makes a difference to understand those.

"It's not massive things," he added, "it's small things, it's all about details.

"Changing things in your own driving can sometimes be a bit of a challenge," he admitted. "And that way, the driving doesn't feel natural at times, but that's how it is.

"But I still feel positive," he insisted, "because from all those difficult weekends we've had, there's been so much to learn from, so much to get better from. Like the race in Malaysia. I had so many answers to my questions from that race, we've been trying to work out every single detail with the engineers to understand. So I've learned massively again from last weekend, so there's always a positive."

Asked if he can learn from Lewis Hamilton's data - a sore subject for the Briton, Bottas said: "Of course. From every teammate you learn something, from every single one. From every circuit, there's always a thing or two you can pick up. Especially from an experienced, extremely quick driver.

Asked if he should be making his doubt in himself public, he said: "I'm not really interested about what people say. I know my own targets, my own goals and if I don't meet those, if I'm not part way of those, I'm not happy.

"I'm always very honest in myself, and if there's ever any single little bit I can improve myself, if I can look in the mirror and say I can improve something, normally I will improve it, one way or another.

"It's been a few difficult races that I need to learn massively from, especially from Malaysia, but that's now history. I am now here and looking forward.

"I say things how they are," he added. "I was not happy."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Suzuka, here.

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