Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas feels the improvements he has made in 2019 F1 season, will make things exciting in 2020 against Lewis Hamilton and others.

While Mercedes’ Bottas won’t be receiving the winner’s championship trophy at the FIA prize gala, the Finn is still proud of his efforts in the 2019 F1 season, where he states that he learned a lot, which he believes will help him in 2020.

Bottas reckons the progress he had as a driver and the areas he improved will help him take a fight to his teammate Hamilton, who has won five of the last six Mercedes-claimed titles. After a lackluster 2018, the Finn bounced back well in 2019.

While Hamilton took the 2019 F1 title in US GP, Bottas secured second place, which is his best career result with four wins and 15 podiums in all. Looking back, the Finn feels that he lost out in certain weekends, which set him back in the fight for the title.

“Overall I think there were a few mistakes, for sure, from my side I should have been able to avoid,” said Bottas to the media. “There were a couple on race starts, at least some of them were mistakes, some were maybe unlucky moments but they made me learn.

“Then a couple of qualifying I messed up in Q3, definitely, which cost me starting position for the race and compromised the race and I lost points because of that. And then, otherwise, I don’t know, luck, whatever has been pretty even for me and Lewis overall.

“So he’s just been on a great level again this year, every single race, and I’ve not been able to be at my very, very best every single race, but much more often than ever before, so the direction is clear for me in terms of my development, overall.

“It’s a good momentum now and in terms of race pace, which has been my weakness in the years before, I’ve made huge gains by working really hard with the engineers, you know, every single detail of my driving and set-up.

“That’s getting better and that gives me really confidence for next year and, unlike at the end of last year, now I really look forward to the year ahead, and I’m already excited to start the next season and start from fresh. So that’s going to be good fun.”

After Hamilton sealed the title in US GP, where Bottas won the grand prix, the Finn, in a way, felt nice as he didn’t allow the British racer to do the double which would have hurt his confidence. He felt bad to lose the championship but was happy to record his best result.

“Winning the grand prix was the only thing I could do to try and maintain the title hopes and delay them,” said Bottas on US GP. “Obviously I did my part, which feels good, but Lewis was strong this weekend, as he always is, so he got some solid points and got the championship. I’ve got mixed feelings, really.

“As an individual weekend it was strong but then, on the other hand, I felt this year being best of the rest it doesn’t feel good. But it always need a little bit of positives as well, you know. It’s my best season in F1 so far, so that’s good.

“Looking at other positives, I’ve made huge gains in many areas, in terms of race pace and everything. I’m sure Lewis really wanted to win US GP, to win the title by winning the race, I could stop that and that feels good, obviously.”

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The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani