Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas says he’s in “good spirits” for the 2020 title fight after putting the frustration of the Spanish Grand Prix behind him.
After finishing third in Barcelona behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen a despondent Bottas said he could already see the 2020 F1 world championship “drifting away”.
He is currently third in the title race, 43 points behind Hamilton and six adrift of Verstappen.
However the Finn, who turns 31 today, says that he has taken time out in a bid to reset ahead of the next triple-header of F1 races starting this weekend at the Belgian GP.
“It was a disappointing weekend and obviously there were a few races that just didn’t go my way, and far from what the goal was,” Bottas said at Spa-Francorchamps on Thursday.
“Of course it’s disappointing when you go all-in for the sport and to try and achieve your goals, but the most important thing is always to bounce back, to reset and find the right mindset. I definitely had a bit of a disconnect again, as we had a weekend off, so I managed to recharge.
“And I’m ready to be here again and try to be at my best level. So I’m in good spirits and looking forward to spending tomorrow, my birthday, on track on one of the best tracks in the world, probably the best racing car in the world. So, things are good.”
Expanding on his love for Spa he said: “It’s a really iconic track and everyone really enjoys it. And all the drivers love driving here – and the racing is always good, which is always a big positive.
“I would say the whole second sector is the most interesting – there’s lots of time you can lose or gain getting things right.
“There’s pretty technical sections as well and corner combinations that you just need to get the lines right and everything. But to be honest the whole track is just really nice.”
Asked about the team’s prospects at Spa, in the light of recent tyre problems, he suggested that lower temperatures might be favourable.
Mercedes suffered its first defeat of the 2020 F1 campaign at the 70th Anniversary GP when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pulled off a strong tyre strategy while both Bottas and team-mate Hamilton suffered with tyre blistering.
Despite Hamilton taking victory in hot conditions at the Spanish GP, Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles warned it was “unlikely” the team had fully resolved its tyre issues – but given the cooler temperatures forecast at Spa the Finnish driver doesn’t anticipate it to be a major concern this weekend.
“It’s such a different track to previous tracks that we’ve had tyre issues, so it’s so difficult to predict,” Bottas said.
“But I think with the softer compound, maybe it’s a bit more difficult to make a one-stop even though you can always try and qualify on the medium, but I have no answer. I guess we will find out.
“At least the temperature is looking pretty cool, which is not maybe a bad thing for us.
“But in any case, I have no doubt that Red Bull will be there, in the race pace they’ve been pretty good with the tyres and the long run pace. So no matter what temperature I’m sure they’re going to be a threat as well.”