Speaking to Sky Sports F1 following a day in the W09 at Silverstone earlier this week, Valtteri Bottas described how the extended off-season due to the Coronavirus has allowed him to improve his physical fitness, as well as finding gains on the mental side.
"Three or four weeks ago, I did a fitness test that I normally do once or twice a year, and it was my best ever.’’
"As a driver, you don't get that many months normally to focus on your fitness, it's normally just the winter break.’’
"But now it's been an extended break, and I was really systematic on the training, and it was amazing to see the results and how good you feel.’’
"I really feel that this unexpected extra time off was only good for me.’’
"That's a rare time that as a driver, [to] get so much time off and actually do different kinds of things, and also time to focus on yourself – improving yourself physically and mentally."
Bottas scored four wins on his way to finishing 2nd in the championship last year. Whilst that his best season in terms of his championship ranking, he still finished 86 points behind his teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
In their three seasons together at Mercedes, the Finn has yet to get within 50 points of the Brit at the end of a season. With a much shorter calendar looking likely compared to the original schedule, this could be his best opportunity to topple Hamilton.
The Finn believes consistency will be key and says he worked on driving improvements during winter testing.
"It's obviously going to be a pretty special season, because it's going to be shorter than the planned amount of races.’’
"Every mistake will cost you much more than previously, and it's all about the consistency.’'
"I feel with the things that we've been working on with the team and with my core engineering team in terms of my driving style, I have a couple of new things in my driving style toolbox that I could use.’'
"I could prove that in Barcelona testing - I could feel in some types of corners I made good steps, and I've been focusing on that during the lockdown, driving other things.’’
"I just feel I'm more complete as a driver, and physically I'm peaking now, so hopefully that can really translate.’'
"I'm really confident, mentally, and in a good place, and I'm going to go all-out, no doubt."