Valtteri Bottas makes defiant Lewis Hamilton statement as George Russell eyes Mercedes

Sports Personality of the Year: Lewis Hamilton receives award

Valtteri Bottas believes he improved this year in F1 and is ready to fight with Lewis Hamilton for the title in 2021. That’s despite Mercedes being linked with George Russell for 2022 following the good impression he made at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Williams man stepped in for Hamilton when he tested positive for coronavirus.

Bottas finished way off the pace though as Hamilton secured his seventh F1 world championship to draw level with Michael Schumacher.

The Finn finished a massive 124 points behind the 2020 champion with pressure growing on him and his future at Mercedes.

Bottas is defiant and believes his performances were good against Hamilton though.

“It was extremely close many, many times this year and even in top three as well. We had good qualifying battles with Lewis,” he said.

“Obviously in the races more often, as the points show, he got the upper hand. But I can’t really say that qualifying was the biggest thing that I improved.

“I would say actually the race pace overall this year was a little bit better. But obviously, there’s always more work to do.”

Bottas is under pressure with Russell eyeing a seat for 2022.

The 22-year-old impressed and looked like winning the Sakhir Grand Prix on two occasions but for a pit stop mistake made by Mercedes.

Bottas believes there are many positives to take from his season and is determined to improve again in 2021.

“Of course I didn’t meet my targets for the year in terms of results,” he added.

“But still now looking at the big picture, there’s so many positive things and so many more lessons learnt about driving and about myself and everything that I can again carry into next year and really turn that into a strength and try again.”

F1 is now on its winter break before pre-season testing starts in March.

The Australian Grand Prix is the first race of 2021 and lights out are on Sunday, March 21 as Hamilton looks to break Schumacher’s record.

The calendar has a massive 23 races scheduled with it ending in Abu Dhabi on December 5.

Provisional 2021 F1 calendar

21 March – Australia (Melbourne)

28 March – Bahrain (Sakhir)

11 April – China (Shanghai)

25 April – TBC (TBC)

9 May – Spain (Barcelona)

23 May – Monaco (Monaco)

6 June – Azerbaijan (Baku)

13 June – Canada (Montreal)

27 June – France (Le Castellet)

4 July – Austria (Spielberg)

18 July – United Kingdom (Silverstone)

1 August – Hungary (Budapest)

29 August – Belgium (Spa)

5 September – Netherlands (Zandvoort)

12 September – Italy (Monza)

26 September – Russia (Sochi)

3 October – Singapore (Singapore)

10 October – Japan (Suzuka)

24 October – USA (Austin)

31 October – Mexico (Mexico City)

14 November – Brazil (Sao Paulo)

28 November – Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)

5 December – Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi)

Source: Read Full Article