LONDON (Reuters) - Valtteri Bottas says he will be looking at the ‘man in the mirror’ to find a way to beat Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton after falling further behind the runaway Formula One leader in Britain.
The Finn was fastest in Friday practice and started Sunday’s race at Silverstone on pole position and yet, as so often happens, it was five-times world champion Hamilton who celebrated on the top step of the podium.
The gap is now 39 points, after Hamilton also bagged an extra point for the fastest lap despite having tyres that had already done more than half the race, with 11 of 21 rounds remaining.
Hamilton has won seven races to two for Bottas, who led the championship early on, and looks unstoppable with the momentum flowing his way.
The Briton’s former team mate Nico Rosberg said he had spent two hours with a sports psychologist every other day during an intense and draining 2016 title battle that the German eventually won.
Bottas, whose race strategy was undone by a brief safety car episode that fell into Hamilton’s lap, saw no reason for doing anything similar however and also had no plans to talk with Rosberg.
“I don’t think it would work for me. Every athlete, every person is individual,” he told reporters.
“Some need some outside support. I have plenty of good people around me I can talk to and for me it’s the man in the mirror that gives the answers if I have hard times or if I doubt. So I plan to solve it myself.”
“I don’t really see a gain from that at the moment,” he added of sports psychology. “I’m not Nico. I know what is best for me.”
Bottas has had bad luck before, notably in Azerbaijan last year when a blown tyre three laps from the end snatched the win from him and handed it to Hamilton.
Sunday was another blow, with Bottas fending off his team mate with some thrilling racing in the early stages and then pitting three laps before the safety car was deployed with Hamilton yet to come in.
The Briton went to the end of race on the one stop. Bottas, who had no choice but to pit again, finished runner-up and 24.928 seconds behind.
“I honestly think with the pace I had I could have won,” said Bottas.
Asked what the man in the mirror would be saying to him, the Finn smiled: “He will say good job all weekend, unlucky. Forget about it, learn whatever you can and move on. Win in Germany.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge