Valtteri Bottas is not yet ready to abandon his bid for a maiden Formula 1 drivers’ title and throw his full weight behind Mercedes’ teammate Lewis Hamilton, saying his mindset remains unchanged heading into this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton has spent much of the season embroiled in a close fight with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the front of the pack, with his third straight win in Singapore catapulting him into a 28-point lead.
Bottas had been within striking distance of the leaders through the European summer races, but is now 51 points behind Hamilton, making his chances of a shock title win seem slim with six rounds to go.
While the Finn is prepared to shift his support to Hamilton when the time is right, he still does not believe he has reached that point yet.
“The first priority for the team is to win the constructors’ title,” Bottas told the official F1 website.
“There it looks good, even if it is not the done deal that people think it is. We still have to do a good job to achieve it.
“Goal number two for the team is to win the drivers’ championship. Lewis has clearly the upper hand compared to me so I understand that there could be situations where the team, and Lewis, needs help, and then I would accept it. That is the name of the game.
“I know the ambitions of the team, but it is not like I am going into this weekend thinking that I will go out on the track helping Lewis.
“I want to win – very clearly. I am still allowed to win races if I have the pace.”