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Bottas: 'I was definitely hoping for more'

Bottas baffled by quali gap with Hamilton
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Valtteri Bottas admits his maiden season with Mercedes fell short of his own expectations, and forces the Finn to step up his game in 2018 to retain his plum drive.

Bottas' contribution to his teams' Constructors' title included two wins compared to nine for team mate and world champion Lewis Hamilton.

"Only two wins unfortunately," he told The National ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

"I was definitely hoping for more like I said, but I am glad I have proven myself and the team signed me up again for next year.

"Next year’s going to be the same thing. I need to again prove if I am going to stay with the team for a long time."

"I always knew it was going to be a challenge as Lewis is such a good driver and he is one of the best ever in Formula 1.

"It is always a challenge to be ahead of him. I couldn’t beat him this year but I am working on my weaknesses."

While Mercedes may appear to have enjoyed a relatively easy second half of the season, Bottas insists it was a difficult campaign, from start to finish.

"The season has been tough. There have been many races that Ferrari have had the upperhand, and even lately Red Bull have been really strong so it has definitely not been like the last three years.

"It has been tough and it is only going to get tougher."

Bottas own personal milestone was obviously his maiden F1 win, achieved in Russia, in his forth race with Mercedes.

"It was a nice win and I definitely had to earn it and to beat everyone that day," Bottas remembers.

"Just the feeling you get. You dream about winning since a kid and when you get that first win it took some time to realise it. But once I realised it, it was so cool."

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