Valtteri Bottas says “of course” he believes he is a better driver than Lewis Hamilton, but he’s not into doing “politics”.
Bottas won the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix to put his nose ahead in the race for the World title. That, however, was short lived.
Hamilton went on a three race winning streak immediately after and by round three, the Hungarian Grand Prix, had taken the lead in the championship.
Since then the Brit has built up a 69-point advantage over Bottas and is well on his way to a record-equalling seventh World title.
Bottas, though, is adamant that has done nothing to dent his confidence in his own ability.
Asked by Sky Sports if he believed he was a ‘better driver than Hamilton’, he replied: “Of course I have to believe that, of course I believe that when I’m at my best I know I can be better than him.
“But obviously there are days that he’s better, no doubt, and overall in the last few years being his team-mate, overall he has been better.
“But I don’t do politics, I just love driving, I love racing, I like fair but hard racing and that’s what I do, that’s how I’ve always raced and that’s how I’ll go on.”
The Finn insisted that overall he has been happy with his performances this season despite taking just two wins to Hamilton’s seven.
“I’ve been pretty pleased with my performance, especially compared to previous years,” he said.
“Especially my race pace has been really good so I think the performance has been there.
“It has been about small details, get them right and get things to go my way as well, but overall performance has been pretty positive.”
It hasn’t been an easy one, though, with Bottas having to deal with criticism from the outside.
Criticism that saw him unleash a “f**k you” on all his detractors when he won the Russian Grand Prix.
“As an athlete and a guy who really puts everything always out there, when you feel like you’re not getting to your goals and not getting the results that you’re aiming for a long enough period of time, it just builds up,” he said of that moment.
“People always judge you even though they don’t know you. They don’t know you personally and how you are actually, no one knows what goes on inside people’s heads and that’s why it’s a bit silly to judge people based on what they see from outside.”