Valtteri Bottas says that he must get the better of teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying if he wants to beat him over the course of a season. The Finn has been out-performed by his teammate in 2018, with Hamilton clinching his fifth world title last weekend in Mexico.
Bottas believes that his biggest weakness lies over one-lap pace. The former Williams driver has been beaten by Hamilton 13 teams on a Saturday so far this year, and is in danger of losing fourth in the driver's standings to Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
Bottas believes that the key to defeating Hamilton lies in defeating him in qualifying: "I need to improve my performance in qualifying if I want to try and beat Lewis," he stated. "He's a very good qualifier and, if he's starting ahead in the race, then he always has the upper hand.
"He's strong in all the areas," he continued. "I think in some areas we are similar, and in some areas he's better. What qualifying is all about is fine details and many things need to come together, so I just need to keep working on all the details."
However Bottas thinks that bad luck got the better of him in the early part of the season, which ultimately put him out of contention in the title fight: "Performance wise, we've been quite close. There has been many times, especially earlier in the season, when I beat him in the qualifying, and also at the end of last year.
"I think the first half of the year I think the luck wasn't on my side. And then afterwards, we realised I'm not fighting for the title any more ... so then it's impossible for me to fight for the championship. When I lost my opportunity for the title this year, I tried to help him a little to win the world championship. But I'm already looking forward to fight again next year."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing