Hamilton: I felt pressure from ‘Bottas 2.0’

Date published: January 5 2020

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that, at the start of the season, he found it difficult to deal with pressure from a resurgent Valtteri Bottas.

The Finn took two pole positions and two wins in the first four races of 2019, leading his Mercedes team-mate in the championship after them.

Hamilton admits that, while he’s used to slow starts to his seasons, Bottas’s form did briefly worry him.

“Qualifying was good in Melbourne but I lost the race. I had the damage and I fell back quite far,” Hamilton told Autosport.com.

“The first couple of races are usually not perfect for me. They’re still not bad, still better than average, but then there’s all the outside pressures of ‘Valtteri 2.0’ and I’m thinking, ‘We’re 2-2 at one stage, two wins apiece’.

“I’ve got to stay solid in my mind, I can’t allow the outside [factors to affect me]… but being human it’s very hard not to notice those things.”

The Briton then went on an excellent run to pull away from Bottas and eventually cruise to his sixth World Championship, and he agreed that consistency was the key factor in his improved form.

“More consistency within the race was really important for me. So other areas in just health aspects, weekend in, weekend out delivering,” he added.

“It’s crazy because we got to August and I’m thinking, ‘Jeez, I’ve had eight wins,’ and as a team, we’ve had like 14 wins and you kind of forget those things because you’re just always looking forwards and time is always ticking.

“But it was not intentional not to wow. I’ve been searching for that wow lap this year. And honestly, I’ve had good laps but they’ve not shown in the order, necessarily.

“I think some of my second places that split up the Ferraris, for me felt like relatively quite wow laps but because I wasn’t on pole by half a second it doesn’t appear that way for you. But for me internally it did.”

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