Austin winner Bottas 'can't wait for next year' after conceding 2019 title
Valtteri Bottas’ fourth win of the season at the Circuit of The Americas – and his second in three races – was one of his most assured performances of the year. But while it proved to be too little too late to keep his championship bid alive, as team mate Lewis Hamilton swept to his six drivers’ title, Bottas was already looking forward to carrying his strong current momentum into 2020.
Bottas was the surprise pole-winner on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, and converted P1 on the grid to a race win, making a two-stop strategy work to pass his team mate for the lead with four laps to go.
But with Hamilton needing to finish just eighth or higher to claim the title regardless of where Bottas finished, the Briton’s second place at the flag was enough for him to claim title number six, and move into second in the all-time list of F1 title winners.
I personally failed on my target this year – but there’s always next year…
“Obviously big congrats to [Lewis],” said a gracious Bottas after the race. “It was an interesting race. It actually went actually pretty quickly because there was always a target for me to do, a lap time target and always trying to gain time, or gain an advantage, so it was actually pretty fun today.
“I personally failed on my target this year,” he added. “There’s always next year but he deserves it. He had a strong season.”
Pushed later on what his strong post-summer break form meant for next year – where F1 will largely experience rule stability before the switchover to the 2021 regulations – Bottas replied: “There’s definitely many positives to take.
“It has been a very good second half of the year. Since the summer, I’ve been gaining some good momentum and feel very happy in the car and overall. We still have a couple of races to go, hopefully a couple more wins.
“Now, as I’ve kind of lost the championship, I look forward to next year. I think I’m definitely on the right way with everything going forward. I’m improving, I’m getting quicker, so I can’t wait for next year.”
Bottas will know that a strong 2020 will be important for him continuing his journey with the Silver Arrows, with Mercedes keeping a watching brief on the progress of their proteges, Williams’ George Russell and F1 returnee Esteban Ocon. Keep up this form and he'll have no worries...