'Peaking' Bottas claims Mercedes would be 'different' without him

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Valtteri Bottas claims the situation at Mercedes would be "different" if he was replaced for 2022.

A decision on who will partner Lewis Hamilton next season is expected by the Belgian Grand Prix, with the smart money going on George Russell being promoted from Williams.

However, Bottas has continued to make his case for being retained, chiefly noting the strong relationship he and the seven-time world champion enjoy and his willingness to support Hamilton.

"I’m confident to say I am a good asset for the team and it definitely would be different if I wasn’t here," the Finn said via F1i.com.

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"I’m confident with my driving skills, but I don’t make the decisions. The future will show."

Since joining Mercedes in 2017, Bottas has rarely been on the same level as Hamilton although poor luck has also played a role in making the gap between the two drivers in the championship bigger.

Even so, the 31-year-old does believe he is only getting better.

"There is nothing holding me back at the moment," he claimed. "Definitely, I would say I feel like in my career I am peaking. I still haven’t reached that yet, there are always things I am learning and getting better at.

"I’ve definitely learned so much about myself in the recent years as a driver and as a human being and being able to understand yourself and what works for you is important.

"I feel like nowadays whatever is thrown at me will not shake me and I feel like I am ready for anything and any kind of challenge in the future. Definitely, I have learned a lot.

"I will try everything I can for myself and for the team for the future, whatever happens."


At the same time, Bottas, who hasn't won since last year's Russian Grand Prix, also suggests he hasn't been able to show his absolute best at Mercedes because of the constant uncertainty over his future.

“It’s just speculation and it’s just guesswork based on what I’m feeling right now, but it would certainly have saved a lot of energy and a lot of unnecessary pressure,” he told Speed Week.

“Not just focusing on the moment, but knowing you’re with the team and can focus on next year and all the improvements you want to share with the team for the future.

“It would certainly have been a different piece of mind, but it’s just speculation.”