Bottas focused on performance, not mind games to beat Hamilton

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Valtteri Bottas says he only wants to focus on performance, not mind games, to beat Lewis Hamilton to the Formula 1 title.

After taking victory in the first race in Austria, the Finn has been comprehensively beaten by his Mercedes teammate in the past two races, falling five points behind in the championship as a result.

The defeats are once again raising questions over if Bottas' approach of simply trying to improve to Hamilton's level can work or does he need to try and destabilise the Briton, as Nico Rosberg did during their increasing tenuous four seasons together. 

"Yes, since I’ve been with the team it has been Lewis winning the title, so I know that I need to beat Lewis if I want to be the World Champion, but [I need to beat] everyone else as well, so it’s only in our favour, as a team, that we have the advantage," he explained on Thursday.

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"It will need a different approach mentally, you know, there are always questions about mental games etc., but I just want to focus all the energy I have on the driving and I want to be at my peak performance, and I want to be earning the good results by hard work and being at my best mentally and physically.

"So, I’m not going to waste energy into anything else than my performance, really. I believe that’s the way to go and, also, for us as a team, if we want to keep having this advantage that we have at the moment, we have to work together."

Bottas also continues to believe that by working on his weakness versus Hamilton, he really can take the step needed to beat the 35-year-old.

"At the moment, Lewis and I are pushing each other really well, to the limit, all the time, non-stop and that’s only a positive thing," he said.

"He’s pushing me to my limits so I keep discovering things about myself and my driving and that’s a good thing, so my plan is just full gas, try to be at my best and really hope that’s going to be enough for the title. That’s it and it’s quite simple in the end.''

Also on Thursday, ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, Bottas further hinted that he'll be staying at Mercedes for 2021 - this after reports in Hungary claimed he had reached an agreement in principle with the team. 

“It’s a different year, of course, we’ve only done three races so that’s why it doesn’t feel like it’s dragging on or anything, but things are definitely moving in the right direction," he said.

"I think it was last week or the week before we start proper discussions, as there was no rush to start them.

“Hopefully, we’ll get there soon but, for now, everything is moving in the right direction. I’ve definitely not signed anything yet, but there’s no panic. I feel there’s good trust from both sides.''