Bottas confident Williams is yet to reach its peak

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Valtteri Bottas is confident that Williams is yet to reach its peak despite producing an incredible turnaround to return to the fight at the front in F1 this year.

Last year, the team scored just five points in the whole of the season, leaving it ninth in the constructors’ come the end of the year.

In 2014 though, things have been very different, with Bottas and teammate Felipe Massa racking up 135 points in total so far, putting Williams in third place. With its strongest circuits still to come, it could get better still for the British team.

Although he is yet to confirm where he will be driving in 2015, Bottas sees no reason to leave Williams despite speculation linking him with a drive at McLaren.

“It’s still too early to say anything,” Bottas explained in Belgium. “Personally, I don’t see a reason to look around at this moment. It’s too early to say, it’s better to wait for confirmation. Then we’ll speak when we have something to say.

“I really think this team is not at its peak yet. I really think the direction is right, and I’m confident that this team can still be better than what we have seen this year. I’m really confident here and wouldn’t mind continuing.”

Bottas also revealed that he has noticed an increase in recognition in his native Finland, after going back home for the summer break.

“You can see the difference. Everyone in Finland, they follow Formula 1 quite closely, and you see the difference. A lot of support, I have to say. Everything has been really positive.”

Bottas will be hoping to secure his fourth podium finish of the season this weekend in Belgium, and could even be in the mix for a race win if Williams makes up some ground on the Mercedes cars at the head of the field.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.