Bottas talks up title drive

11 January 2018 10:19:20 EST

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed he has been working hard in the off-season to ensure he will challenge for the world title this year.

The Finnish racer finished third in the 2017 Drivers' Championship in his first season with the Silver Arrows after he decided to leave Williams to replace the retiring world champion Nico Rosberg.

Bottas managed three race wins for the constructor champions, but the 28-year-old had to watch as team-mate Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth drivers' crown of his career.

The pressure is on Bottas to challenge the likes of Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel more this year given that he will be battling for a new contract extension beyond this coming campaign.

Bottas has admitted he debut season at Mercedes was somewhat inconsistent but he is working hard to improve ahead of the opening race at the Australian Grand Prix on 25th March.

He said: "I think the balance sheet is a bit up and down for me.

"There were many good moments but many disappointments as well. Lewis won the title as my teammate so we had a car to do it and he beat me. So I've learned a lot and that's why I'm really looking ahead."

He added: "I think the difficult races were the ones where I learned the most. I feel last season gave me a lot to work on to be a better person and driver and that's always positive.

"That's why I can't wait for the future."

Bottas is 2000/1 to win the Formula 1 title in 2018, while Hamilton is 1/500 to make it five world titles.

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