Bottas pushing to beat Hamilton: 'I would struggle to accept' he's better

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Valtteri Bottas is more motivated than ever to beat Lewis Hamilton after admitting he would "struggle to accept" him being better.

The Finn is set for his fourth year alongside the now six-time Formula 1 champion in 2020 but has never finished closer than the 58 points which separated the two Mercedes drivers in his first year at the team in 2017.

Last year saw Bottas initially take the fight to Hamilton in the first quarter of the season before slipping back, but a strong end to the year gave him hope that he can go on to become only the third driver to beat the Briton over a full season.

“It feels like I have to dig very deep to find anything more from my side – how I can be a better driver, how I can perform better, how I can work better with engineers,” he explained.

“It definitely keeps me working hard because it’s just not easy to beat him and it requires a lot. That’s pushing me on every single day.

“I would really struggle to accept it, that some other driver can do something that I can’t.

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“I accept it completely that Lewis won the title [in 2019] because overall during the season he was better than me. He beat me fair and square," Bottas acknowledged.

“But I believe there’s always something that I can do better and I can fix those weaknesses. Maybe I’m a bit more stubborn.”

As for what it is the 30-year-old needs to do to close the substantial points gap to Hamilton...

“It’s quite clear in my mind,” Valtteri claimed. “We’re definitely [working] with the engineers and with the team on my development program.

“Things we’re really focusing on [is] the race week and for my performance that final step I need is consistency.

“I still more adaptability to different circumstances [as well] but the main thing is minimising mistakes.

“There were some qualifying sessions where I made mistakes and that compromised the Sunday and then there was some races where I made mistakes, for example, Hockenheim, I lost a big chunk of points there so [it’s about] trying to get rid of those.

“There’s still a lot I feel I can improve. It’s fine details here and there, a lot related to driving style and tyre management. But it’s a whole lot better than last year [2018]," Bottas added.

“Minimising those mistakes, being able to find [the right] mental state that [means] I will be able to perform at my best every single weekend – that’s the tricky part. Like in any sport.”