Valtteri Bottas 'knows' he can beat Lewis Hamilton after US GP victory
Bottas beats Hamilton in Austin but unable to take 2019 title fight to Brazil; Finn targets 2020 title bid after "really good steps forward" this year
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 03/11/19 11:23pm
Valtteri Bottas says he now has the confidence he can beat Lewis Hamilton and is targeting a more sustained title challenge in 2020.
Bottas turned pole into victory at the US GP for his fourth win of the season but was unable to extend the 2019 championship battle to Brazil after Hamilton finished second to claim his sixth title.
The Finn failed to register a win last season and particularly struggled after the summer break, but this year has so far managed four podiums and two wins in the second half of the season.
Bottas has now surpassed his best points total in F1 and hopes his improvement at tracks he struggled at previously will lead to him regularly battling Hamilton for victories next season.
"I know I can beat Lewis and today proves it," Bottas told Sky Sports F1.
"It gives me lots of confidence because I've managed to turn around many difficult race tracks and conditions for me.
"I've been making really good steps forwards this year and so I'm really looking forward to next year."
Bottas also feels that after three seasons of being Hamilton's team-mate, he is closing the gap on the strengths of the Briton's driving style.
However, he conceded that he needs to improve his consistency over the season and make the most of weaker races if he is to topple Hamilton in a championship battle.
"Overall I would say I've had a weakness in some of the slow-speed corners, driving style - he's had a strength there but that's getting very close there and better from my side," Bottas said.
"This year I would say he's been doing fewer mistakes, he's been more consistent - he's always there no matter what circumstances, conditions, but I'm getting better at that.
"I'll keep working hard and digging deep, it will come."
Can Bottas beat Hamilton in a championship?
Analysis from Sky Sports F1 pundit and 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg…
"It's difficult. Valtteri was mentioning his weaknesses, and he needs to put a whole season together.
"Valtteri always has moments where he is really strong and beating Lewis, but Lewis always comes back and just destroys him for many, many races.
"Race pace I think has been a key problem of Valtteri's. The race pace is where he must improve - he's wearing out the rear tyres much more than Lewis in most races, so that's really a big problem.
"Valtteri played some good mind games at the beginning of the year. He came in and showed he was this Valtteri 2.0, really, really strong and that works - that's the perfect way to do it.
"Just focus on yourself, make yourself look as strong and powerful as possible, deliver with results and I think that's the best way. Because if you annoy Lewis, that's not the way to go either, because when he's angry, he becomes stronger. It's a fine line."