Can Bottas end his run of misfortune with a win this weekend?
By Abhishek Takle
ABU DHABI - Valtteri Bottas said he needs to up his game to snap a streak of bad luck and poor performances heading into Formula One’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver has finished on the podium just once in the last four races despite driving the most dominant car on the grid, taking second place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in early November.
In the three races since, he has cobbled together two minor points-paying finishes.
"All I can say that since Imola, it’s been a run of really, really bad luck," Bottas told reporters via video conference from the Yas Marina circuit on Thursday.
"Definitely, I feel like I’ve not really been performing at my best in the last few races. I feel that I need to do better."
Bottas was handicapped by a damaged floor at Imola.
At the next race, a wet and slippery Turkish Grand Prix, he picked up damage on the opening lap, spun six times and finished a lap down on team mate Lewis Hamilton who wrapped up a record-equalling seventh title with a masterful drive to victory.
In Bahrain, Bottas suffered a puncture that compromised his race and he finished eighth.
At last week's Sakhir Grand Prix, he was outshone by new boy George Russell, replacing Hamilton after the Briton contracted COVID-19, on his Mercedes debut.
Bottas said losing the title for four years in a row to Hamilton, who has won 11 races this year to the Finn’s two and will be back in Abu Dhabi after testing negative for COVID-19, had taken its toll.
"For sure it has an effect," said Bottas.
"But everyone knows how sensitive mentally this sport is.”
The 31-year-old said he had shut out the headlines and social media comments after the Sakhir race and arrived in Abu Dhabi rejuvenated.
"I feel again full of energy for the new weekend and feel that I’m in a place that I can perform,” he said.
"It would be a much nicer feeling to go into the break with a good result, a race win under your belt." (Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Mumbai; editing by Ed Osmond)