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Bottas confident he can close gap in F1 title race

2017-05-25 07:32

Image: AP / Manu Fernandez

Monaco - Valtteri Bottas is over his recent bad luck and remains confident he can close the gap in the F1 title race at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.

The Finnish driver's fledgling Mercedes career has been a topsy-turvy one since he joined from Williams as a replacement for F1 champion Nico Rosberg.

He drove brilliantly to win his first career race at the Russian Grand Prix after securing his first ever pole position in Sochi last month. But two weeks ago he was undone by engine problems in practice for the Spanish GP and then failed to finish because of a turbo issue late in the race.

'Bad result, good result...'

Bottas said on Wednesday at the Monaco GP: "It's one to forget for sure. It's been a bit up and down for me this year. Bad result, good result."

His other results so far are two third places and one sixth place, putting him 41 points behind four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and 35 behind three-time champion Lewis Hamilton, his Mercedes teammate.

Bottas said: "The gap to Sebastian, to Lewis, is bigger than I was hoping for this year. But things can change quickly. What gives me confidence is that there is still 75 percent of the season left. I feel my best races are ahead this year. I feel I've done a good job in some races, but I feel there is more to come to be at a consistently good level."

Although Bottas has impressed with this speed, he has yet to show the hallmarks of a genuine title contender.

His magnanimous approach goes somewhat against that.

Bottas showed his team ethic by allowing Hamilton past him in Bahrain so that the British driver could chase after Vettel.

He did so again in Barcelona, holding up Vettel for a crucial few laps. That allowed Hamilton to gain some precious seconds on Vettel's chasing Ferrari. Hamilton won a thrilling race, Vettel was second and Bottas got nothing — except praise for his efforts.

It is a difficult situation for Bottas, who is on a one-year contract and has the added pressure of the demanding Hamilton as a team mate. With 55 race wins to his name, Hamilton is clearly the No. 1 driver, even though the team has not officially said so.

Over the past three years, Hamilton was on an equal footing with Rosberg as they fought each other for the title. This led to tensions and fall outs.

The 27-year-old Bottas is not relishing the prospect of finding himself in a similar position. But it might become inevitable if he does manage to close the gap on Hamilton and turn the title race into a genuine three-way battle.

Bottas said: "I can't even imagine how it can be after a few years with a teammate battling for the title always. There is respect both ways (with Hamilton), which is good. (We are) just enjoying working together and hopefully that will help us in this close fight with Ferrari. It is a team sport anyway, so we need to push forward together."

It's hardly the talk of a driver desperate to win the title.

Evening guys. Would you like to have one of my #VB77 @mercedesamgf1 caps signed?? Comment below ??

A post shared by Valtteri Bottas (@valtteribottas) on

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Read more on:    mercedes  |  valtteri bottas  |  monaco  |  f1  |  motorsport

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