Valtteri Bottas believes “fine margins” were at play after his chances of the 2020 World Championship slipped away.
Already heading in to the Turkish Grand Prix Bottas’ hopes of winning a first title of his career were slim, but an error-prone race while Hamilton took victory meant that Bottas’ fight ended in underwhelming fashion.
And though it was clear that Hamilton was the better driver at times this year, Bottas feels the 2020 title battle was a case of “fine margins” that didn’t necessarily go in his favour.
“There are still three races, so to get the overall picture from this season there’s still a lot you can do and try to get a positive ending,” said Bottas ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
“It’s a fact that for me the Championship is lost, but I still keep pushing and if I look back at this year there are many positives I can take.
“I have been able to improve in many areas, for sure not still enough to win the title, but I’ll keep pushing.
“Yes, there were some unlucky races where I lost some points, but there were also races where Lewis was better than me and that’s, in the end, how he made the difference.
“Sometimes it was just very fine margins about how qualifying or the race ended up, in terms of what kind of strategy I was pushing for or how things ended up.
“You know, in this sport the points difference can look pretty big now, I know, but, in the end it comes down to fine margins and I’ve been unable to be consistently at such a top level as Lewis has this year and that made the difference. It’s not a lot but it was enough to win.
“That’s something I’ll keep pushing on for the future, because I feel I’m getting better each year.
“That gives me hope and motivation and that will to push more and try to keep growing for the future, so I’m looking forward to next year.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 26, 2020
Hamilton also believes that Bottas has improved this year, especially since being Hamilton’s team-mate is “not easy”.
“It’s not easy being my team-mate. He’s getting stronger. The media already talked about a 2.0 version. He has now completely closed the gap in qualifying,” Hamilton explained.
“He’s very consistent. He’s had some reliability issues and that’s made all the difference this year. You just have to give him credit. He never complains, he always says, ‘I have to do better.’ I don’t see that in other drivers. He’s one of the best drivers here.”