With the 2017 season in Formula One over, every team has begun work preparing for next year.
Despite changes in rules and regulations, Mercedes have continued their domination, securing their fourth successive constructors’ title in as many years, while Lewis Hamilton registered his fourth world title after competing for a decade in top-flight racing.
However, for the emphatic display of the champions, much of the credit must be reserved for Valtteri Bottas, who has been the ideal driver to partner the British ace in the Silver Arrows’ car.
Bottas, having spent five years at Williams, switched to Mercedes after the retirement of Nico Rosberg and instantly found success, helping the team improve in every aspect.
He managed to secure a top-five finish in each of the 18 races of the calendar year, barring Spain and China, and his performances were satisfactory enough to earn him a one-year extension with the team.
Although, a recent poll conducted by Autosport reveal Bottas was not a favoured choice for Formula 1 team bosses, who considered him the 10th best driver on the 2017 grid, dropping from ninth in 2016 in the annual poll.
But, that has not deterred the focus and determination of the Finnish star, who claims he is not bothered about polls, and is more engrossed in improving the performances in order to gain the highest honours.
The 28-year-old said: “There’s always all kind of polls and stuff.
“I don’t really think about it, if I‘m underrated or things like that. Really what matters is how I perform on track; how many races I will be able to win in the future.
“The main thing is within the team, that they know exactly my level of performance, that they know what I‘m capable of doing.”
He reflected on the impact the season has had on him, asserting that he has learnt a lot in such short span of time in the Mercedes garage.
“I think as a driver I’ve definitely learned a lot," stated Bottas.
“I’ve felt that sometimes I had quite a hard lesson, I really struggled in some races with the car and my driving.
“I really have to work on many of the issues and learn from those and get better. I think out of all the seasons I’ve had in Formula 1, this is the one where I’ve learnt the most.”
Bottas admitted he is aware of the fact that there is no scope for excuses in 2018, given he will race in the same mechanics as Hamilton and it is his responsibility to deliver.
He added: “I know that this will be up to me. We are able to race Lewis with equal machinery and equal terms, we are going to be allowed to race on the track so it’s up to me.
“If I can perform in qualifying, and well in the races pace-wise and in racing situations, then I can fight for the title if we have a good car.”
Four pole positions, three race wins, alongside 13 podium finishes, Bottas has indeed proved his worth in the UK-based outfit.
The Finn is geared up for the upcoming campaign and he is confident of an impressive show in 2018 as well.
The top 10 drivers of 2017 as voted by the Formula 1 team principals:
1. Lewis Hamilton
2. Max Verstappen
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Daniel Ricciardo
5. Esteban Ocon
6. Fernando Alonso
7= Kimi Raikkonen
7= Carlos Sainz
9. Nico Hulkenberg
10. Valtteri Bottas
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