© Provided by IBT US
Valtteri Bottas remains confident he is doing enough to earn himself an extension to remain with Mercedes beyond 2018 despite being 59 points behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The Finnish racer does not have a contract with the Mercedes team for the 2019 season after he was only handed a one-year extension last year and team boss Toto Wolff revealed they will make a decision midway through the year.
Bottas was hoping to challenge his teammate more consistently this season and the deficit in points could have been much closer had it not been for bad luck and reliability issues robbing him of valuable points. Most notable was the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when he suffered a tire puncture in the final laps after having the race in the bag, while collision with Sebastian Vettel in France and a hydraulics failure in Austria have further limited his points scoring chances.
Daniel Ricciardo was the main contender for Bottas’ race seat, but it looks almost certain that the Australian will sign a new deal to remain with current employers Red Bull Racing after the driver admitted that talks had progressed. The Finn has proved that he can challenge at the top end of the grid on a consistent basis throughout the first 10 races, which should prompt Mercedes to hold on to him for at least one more season.
“For sure it puts me in a decent place this year, and even though I've not scored the points I would have wanted I have always performed at the level the team requires me to do," Bottas said, as per ESPN. "I'm more or less on the level I want personally. For sure that's a good thing even though only the team sees in great detail how I perform every week.”© Provided by IBT US
"Having a few wins never does anything bad for you for the future but at least the team knows exactly how I'm performing and the direction I'm going with my improvement,” the former Williams Racing driver added.
Bottas on Hamilton comparison
Despite trailing teammate Hamilton by 59 points this season, Bottas has out-qualified his more illustrious teammate in four of the ten races thus far. Apart from his qualifying success, he was also in with a better chance of winning the race in China, Azerbaijan and Great Britain when bad luck struck to ensure he did not attain the points he deserved.
Bottas feels he has closed the gap on Hamilton compared to last season, which is a parameter every driver uses during the course of a season. Moreover, he also received a glowing endorsement from the Briton, who is hoping that Mercedes retain him as his teammate in 2019.
“I've felt I have been able to improve my weaknesses, and strengths. Overall performance has just been closer, there have been less big gaps between me and Lewis. No matter if the car's been good to drive or very difficult to drive. I feel I've been able to extract what there is and it's been quite close,” Bottas said.
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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/motorsports/valtteri-bottas-confident-about-earning-new-mercedes-deal/ar-AAA9kfc