Valtteri Bottas Shifts Focus to Snagging Runner-Up Spot from Vettel
Will he be able to close out a 1-2 finish for Mercedes in the Drivers’ Championship?
After a hugely successful first season with Mercedes AMG, young Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas has proven himself against F1's greats. His fight in 2017 has been enough to best his Silver Arrow teammate Lewis Hamilton on multiple occasions, and although the overall Drivers' Championship may be out of his reach with just six races to go, Bottas claims he is eyeing to overtake Ferrari ace Sebastian Vettel for second place to make a 1-2 Mercedes finish at the end of the season.
“This was good race for us, for me and Lewis in terms of points. The next couple of races are hopefully good for us," Bottas said.
He then added that even though his team has a substantial lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' race, they won't be discrediting them come time for October's Malaysian Grand Prix.
“But we are not underestimating [Ferrari]. For sure, they can still have strong weekends. Six races to go, there are still plenty of points to get, so it is a good target for me.”
When asked if he still believed he could win the F1 Drivers' Title this year, Bottas admitted that it might be too late to catch up to Hamilton. This doesn't seem to be a problem for the 28-year-old, though, as he explained he would be just as happy rounding out the top two spots by beating the four-time champion Vettel for second.
"I think that is definitely the next target for me, and, yes, it is possible," Bottas said. For the team, it is important to win the drivers’ championship. I will just focus on trying to get Sebastian, and I am sure the team is behind me as well."
Bottas currently sits just 23 points behind Vettel, a narrower margin than what separates the Maranello pilot from Lewis Hamilton, 28 points. With the veteran in spitting distance, Bottas has his sights set on his best finish yet.
Vettel mentioned earlier in the season that he enjoys the heated contest among the three, saying "easy is boring." While that may be true, it looks like Vettel will have to minimize his mistakes to avoid any troubles like he had in Singapore last week. If not, he could soon be sitting behind both Mercedes drivers after the season's last race in Abu Dhabi.