Valtteri Bottas taking title belief from strong F1 2019 start
Bottas has second win of F1 2019, but no contract talks yet; Finn focused on "fighting for every victory and for this championship
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 02/05/19 10:27am
A confident Valtteri Bottas claims his storming start to the season is proof that his approach to F1 2019 is working.
Bottas, who failed to win a race all year in 2018, has begun the new campaign with two victories from four races, and leads Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton by a point in the championship.
The Finn, who battled Hamilton wheel-to-wheel before winning last week's Azerbaijan GP, has been dubbed 'Bottas 2.0' with his form and new-found confidence, and is now looking to do what he has never done before - use this momentum to challenge for the title all season.
"Definitely the good results like today [give me] confidence, with everything I'm doing," Bottas said after Sunday's race
"It gives guidance that I'm doing something right."
Bottas banished the woes from Baku 2018 - when a puncture cost him a race win and title advantage - to lead from lights to flag on a tricky street track.
"Last year I could have been in the championship lead here and now I am," he added.
"It's one of the best [weekends]. Being able to qualify at the front, that was very important this weekend as pace-wise we've been close with Lewis and also in the race start, Lewis had a better getaway initially but then I managed to defend into Turn One, Turn Two. It was nice and clean, very fair so good respect from both of us."
Bottas continued: "I wasn't thinking about  while racing the last few laps, I was really just taking it corner by corner and focusing on the moment, not doing mistakes and doing my job, doing what I like.
"We are doing a lot of things right as a team so for sure it was important."
Bottas also offered a tongue-in-cheek reply when asked about whether he believes this is his year for glory.
"There are only 17 races to go… not that many!" he joked.
Will Bottas get new Merc deal?
2019 was billed as another make-or-break year for Bottas, with the 29-year-old on another one-year 'prove it' deal at Mercedes, with several drivers primed to step in should he fail to deliver.
So far, he is doing so.
"He would have been in the hunt for the championship if he would have made those points last year and it's a very deserved win for him," said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff on his Baku performance.
On this form, Bottas would surely get another new deal from Mercedes - but he says discussions haven't started yet.
"I haven't thought about it, at all," he insisted. "I'm just really focused on this moment right now, fighting for every single victory and for this championship.
"The talks will come when they come, and when they start I hope they will be done with soon rather than dragging on. We haven't talked a single word about next year yet because there's no need to, we're focusing on our job.
"When that's going to happen, I hope that we can agree quickly. It's all good."
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