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Confident Bottas discovers how to 'get in the zone'

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas said that rebuilding his confidence after a tricky slump over the summer had been vital to his success this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

The Mercedes driver started from pole position on Sunday. He then managed the race under pressure from his team mate Lewis Hamilton, clinching his third career F1 win.

"Really perfect. Getting the pole position, the race win and the fastest lap - couldn't be better," he said afterwards. "Definitely gives confidence going into next year.

"It is a really important win for me after having a pretty difficult start to the second hard of the year," he admitted.

Bottas said the race had been completely under control from start to finish. He wasn't even worried about a repeat of the last race in Brazil, when he lost the lead going into the first corner.

"I felt good - I felt more relaxed than in Sao Paulo, honestly," he said. "I came to this weekend feeling there was nothing to lose, and that kind of gave me a bit of peace of mind.

"Somehow all weekend I've had a feeling that everything is under control," he continued. "I was really managing the pace and that way the race. That was a nice feeling.

"I had one bit of a lock-up when I was approaching one of the lapped cars but otherwise no issues.

"In the last five laps I started to go a bit quicker and managed to build up a gap," he added. "So pleased, the car was so good.

"Whatever kind of zone I've been able to get myself now in qualifying in Brazil, in qualifying yesterday and the race today, I need to find myself in that kind of feelings next year all the time."

Asked what had been the secret behind his late-season success, Bottas explained that it has simply come down to methodically identifying and addressing the factors that had been undermining his performances.

"I think really working had on all the issues, getting confidence out of those," he explained. " Understanding the races where I struggled more.

"There were so many tricky races after the August break. Once I really started to get those things and improve my driving step by step, it's just given me confidence.

"And when you're confident in the car in this sport it makes a massive difference.

"Obviously again congrats to Lewis on the title, congrats to Sebastien for the second place in the championship.

"Bit of a shame I didn't get second place in the championship in the end, but that's now history. Now I'm looking ahead!"

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