Bottas: Being ‘mentally-free’ key to title fight

Jamie Woodhouse
Valtteri Bottas says being "mentally-free" key to beating Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas says being "mentally-free" key to beating Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas says it’s vital that he is “mentally-free” in 2020 as he looks to battle with team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the title.

2019 was Bottas’ best effort to date as he claimed four race wins to finish runner-up to Mercedes team-mate Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, albeit 87 points adrift in the final standings.

But this year the Finn plans to go one better and claim a first World Championship crown, but for that he knows he must be in the perfect mental state.

“I feel very well prepared. Even in testing there were no question marks on my side,” he told reporters at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

“As a driver, you want to make the most out of those limited kilometres we have, to learn about the car; how to set it up and drive it quickly.

“I feel we are well prepared, we’ve had a really good preparation for the year and I’m keen to go.

“It’s all about trying to be at your absolute best and pushing to the limits even further.

“What it requires to do that is the right mind set, the spirit and the attitude, being mentally free in the car and confident.

“Then it’s about finding consistency at that level all along the season – that’s the key.”

Bottas says he learned from last year and following tweaks to his training feels “very good” both physically and mentally.

“For sure last year I came to this event with the right attitude and it worked, as the weekend went very well and I had a good start of the year,” he explained.

“So I learned, training-wise, what worked. This time I also had a very good winter, a little bit different from last year’s, mostly spend down here and doing quite a bit of cycling.

“Physically I feel very, very good and mentally I also feel very well. Everything is like in place and now I just need to drive the car.

“You always learn about what works and what doesn’t work for you, last year I’ve learned a lot and as I started last season pretty well I’m confident I’ll start this season at least as well.

“As in every championship, there will always be tricky moments but then it’s all about minimising how long they last and how much they impact you.”

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