MONTMELO, Spain -- Valtteri Bottas insists he will not need to revert to mind games to beat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2018.
Bottas won three races in 2017 -- earning himself a contract extension for this coming season in the process -- but was unable to challenge Hamilton for the championship. The Finn's future at Mercedes hinges on how he performs this year, with the likes of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon available for the German manufacturer in 2018.
Nico Rosberg, the man Bottas replaced at Mercedes, managed to beat Hamilton to the title in 2016, something the German put down to changing his mental approach. Bottas is keen to follow that example by focusing on himself rather than Hamilton.
"For sure every driver has weaknesses and that's how it goes, but rather on focusing too much on him I am going to spend my energy and focusing on myself, on my performance, my performance on track and if I perform on the level I am aiming to every single race I hope that will do the job. So I am not going to start wasting my energy for any games."
Bottas was very competitive against Hamilton at certain races last season, but the Englishman's imperious form after the summer break propelled him to the championship. With the F1 season back at 21 races for 2018, Bottas knows he has to find a way to perform consistently over the whole season.
"For me, if I perform at the level that I aim to perform, I hope to see more on-track battles with Lewis. I just really want to win as many races as I can to try and win the championship.
"That's the goal and I don't need to change anything else to do that. I'm not going to start playing any mental games or anything in the team. I think like this it works well. But it's up to me if I perform on track and I will show muscle if needed."