NOT HERE TO BE THE BRIDES­MAID

Bot­tas says he’s fight­ing for ti­tle, not podium fin­ishes

New Straits Times - - Sport -

VALT­TERI Bot­tas said he’d see fin­ish­ing third in the driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship as a fail­ure after he was handed a new one-year con­tract by his For­mula One team Mercedes.

The Finn trails his team-mate Lewis Hamil­ton and Ferrari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel by 38 points, and he said he needs to get his act to­gether quickly.

“Any­thing in For­mula One is al­ways pos­si­ble with seven races to go,” Bot­tas said ahead of the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, the 14th of 20 races this sea­son.

“But I do def­i­nitely need to start fin­ish­ing ahead of Lewis and Se­bas­tian if I want to keep my ti­tle hopes alive, and rather sooner than later.”

He added: “I’m not here to fin­ish third. I def­i­nitely want to be fight­ing for the ti­tle as long as there is pos­si­bil­i­ties for that.

“I re­ally want to make the most out of the end of the year and I al­ways set my tar­gets very high, so third is not one of them.”

Bot­tas has won two races this year and has 197 points, while Hamil­ton (238 points) and Vet­tel (235) have 10 vic­to­ries be­tween them.

A one-year deal could leave Bot­tas vul­ner­a­ble at the end of next sea­son, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo among the driv­ers who will be­come avail­able.

But Bot­tas said he now had the op­por­tu­nity to nail down a spot with Mercedes with his per­for­mances this year and next sea­son.

“For sure the team al­ways wants to have op­tions open for the fu­ture, I un­der­stand 100 per­cent. But I’m very happy with this. It’s still bet­ter than the orig­i­nal con­tract that I had,” Bot­tas said.

“As al­ways with my ca­reer in F1, it’s go­ing to be com­pletely up to me. If I per­form well, there’s no prob­lem and we can have a long fu­ture to­gether.”

AFP PIC

Mercedes driver Valt­teri Bot­tas in the first prac­tice ses­sion of the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix yes­ter­day.

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