(GMM) Valtteri Bottas says he will continue to “drive fairly” rather than emulate Nico Rosberg’s tactics in trying to beat Lewis Hamilton.
1996 world champion Damon Hill is quoted as saying: “The only way to beat Lewis is to do what Nico did and make him feel uncomfortable.”
But Finn Bottas, who has now lost four consecutive titles alongside Hamilton at Mercedes since replacing Rosberg in 2017, responded: “There are many people who have suggested I should become a Nico Rosberg.
“But I am not a Nico Rosberg,” he told motorsport-total.com. “I prefer to let actions speak for themselves and drive fairly.”
Some believe Mercedes should have installed George Russell as Hamilton’s teammate for 2021, and are now predicting that lineup for 2022.
But Bottas said the current combination works well for Mercedes.
“Our strength is that we can definitely work as a team,” said the Finn. “We can drive hard, but we leave it at that.
“We know that in the end the team will benefit from us working together, so we don’t hide any setups, any data or anything else like that.”
However, Bottas also knows that he needs to finally challenge Hamilton in 2021.
“You don’t get a million opportunities in this sport,” he said. “I know I don’t have 15 seasons with Lewis to beat him. I know I have to try this year.”
January 16, 2021
Valtteri Bottas is not laser focussed on winning like Nico Rosberg was so, therefore he will not be able to beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 Formula 1 world championship.
Hamilton has eaten the Finn’s lunch four years in a row and Bottas is now facing pressure internally to be replaced by George Russell, a faster driver than he is.
However, looking ahead to the new campaign, since he knows he cannot beat him, Bottas said that he would continue to work in the best interests of the team rather than solely focusing on beating the seven-time world champion.
“I think that the strength we have in the team is definitely that we can work as a team,” he told Autosport. “We can for sure race hard, but we can also leave it there.
“And we know the fact that if we can work together, that’s how the team is going to benefit in the end.
“So there’s not going to be any hiding of setups or data or anything. And the team spirit in team sports is underestimated.
“I think it’s really important that you keep the motivation up, and no conflicts.”
Hamilton has been beaten over a season just once since the start of the turbo-hybrid era and that was at the hands of his former teammate Rosberg in 2016.
However, Bottas insists he will not look to mimic the way the German was able to get under Hamilton’s skin and unsettle him.
“Of course, along the way, there’s been many people suggest I change to be a Nico Rosberg,” he added.
“But I’m not a Nico Rosberg. I much prefer to do the talking on track and race fair.
“I have also been able to get to know Lewis, and I know that there’s no benefit of trying to play with his mind.
“I’m sure it would be annoying for him, but it would be wasting my energy. And I think he will be getting even more pissed off and drive faster.
“So I think the way I’m doing things, that’s how I want to win. That is my aim.”