Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas targets win at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to set up 2018 title bid

Finn has won twice this year and believes he can closely challenge world champion Hamilton for the drivers title next season.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, of Finland, celebrates after he clocked the fastest time during the qualifying session for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
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Valtteri Bottas is targeting a winning finale to 2017 at the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend as he gears up to challenge world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton for the Formula One drivers’ title next season.

The Finn has won twice so far in his first year with Mercedes-GP after replacing retired world champion Nico Rosberg.

While a win at Yas Marina Circuit can still potentially get him second in the standings at the expense of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the 28-year-old already has one eye on doing even better in 2018.

Bottas, speaking at a promotional event at the Hugo Boss store at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai on Tuesday, said his confidence was high for Sunday’s race at Yas Marina Circuit after a strong performance in Brazil where he started on pole position and finished second.

Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

“Yes I think so,” he said when asked if he could triumph in Abu Dhabi. “I was fighting for the win in Brazil and I don’t see any reason why I can’t here either.

“I have nothing to lose honestly. I only have something to win. If I can win the race and if Sebastian gets unlucky there is still a possibility for second place.”

At worst Bottas will be third in the championship, though he is disappointed he did not push teammate Hamilton harder to winning his fourth world title, which the Briton wrapped up in Mexico last month.

He goes into Sunday’s race 65 points behind Hamilton, who has won nine races this season. But looking ahead to 2018, he thinks he can beat Hamilton over a season.

“I always like to set targets very high,” Bottas said. “I always like to push my own boundaries and I am now going into a new season now with a team I know.

“There are things to work on from this season and from what I have learnt this year I go to next year believing anything is possible.

“Of course the only target in my career was to fight for the title and be champion one day and I hope next year it could be possible.”

Bottas has enjoyed being teammates with Hamilton, adding: “I feel over the season I have really got to know him and how he works and as a teammate,” he said. “I have to say that he is a really nice guy. We have been able to work really well as a team.


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