Valtteri Bottas says he is focusing on being “the best version of myself” and not “trying too hard” after moving from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo.
After five seasons with Mercedes, during which he helped the team secure the constructors’ championship every year, Bottas has been replaced by George Russell for the 2022 season and moved to Alfa Romeo.
Bottas says he does not believe he has reached the pinnacle of his driving abilities as he joins his third Formula 1 team in his tenth year in the sport.
“I absolutely feel that I have still so much to do to get better and so much more to give to the sport,” said Bottas.
“As a driver, I think you never, never stop learning as long as you want to. So of course, I’m always looking at areas that I can be better and it truly feels like now I can just be the best version of myself instead of trying to be something else and trying too hard.
“But in the end, it’s going to be a team effort. I don’t see me as the only leader of the team – we’re in this together, that that is the feeling.”
As his new team finished a lowly ninth in the constructors’ championship last year, Bottas recognises he will have to adjust his expectations for how competitive he will be this season.
“As a driver, of course I drive to win races, but also we need to be realistic about where we come from as a team,” Bottas said. “It’s been a challenging last couple of years for Alfa Romeo, but I’m here to help and I’m here to work hard to do my part that we’re going to make progress.”
Bottas says that the aim for his first season with the team will be to secure more consistent top ten finishes throughout the year.
“I think in the first year with the team, if we can get more consistently in the points than previous years, I think that would be already an achievement,” he said.
“But of course, secretly, I’m also aiming very high and I want to be up there. So I’ll keep pushing and also try and keep guiding the team and really push forward together united. I think that’s going to give us eventually the results and that’s going to be so rewarding.
“So for sure, I need a bit of a reset on all my targets – most likely I’m not going to be fighting for the race wins immediately, that’s pretty realistic to say, but eventually it will be.”
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