The 2021 Formula 1 season is about to begin. Valtteri Bottas will start his fifth season in F1 alongside his teammate, Lewis Hamilton who remains the stronger of the two.
Bottas has not yet managed to match the level of his teammate and has been criticized many times because on some occasions he should have done better, but the Finn says that these criticisms do not bother him anymore.
In fact, he declares that the responses from "couch commentators" motivate him to continue, rather than discourage him.
In an interview with Motorsport.com Bottas states: "They really motivate me quite a lot,
"I've learned a lot from myself not to try and let those kind of things affect me. I try to avoid that negativity.
"But no matter what you do, there's always going to be negativity: sometimes less, sometime more and it is the same with the criticism. But it's a motivation to prove people wrong. No doubt.
"And I think I've said it before: sometimes I just don't get why there is that kind of criticism. I guess there's always a reason. But I don't know that reason and again, I'm not in their position. So I've no idea what goes in their head..."
The Finn declares that most of the time, critics do not remember who has to fight for dominance in Mercedes, the challenge he faces against one of the greatest F1 drivers is underestimated and even more with the same cars.
In fact he states: "I think the people who really properly understand the sport and, look at details, and think of things in other people's shoes or driver's shoes, I think they understand,
"But there's many, for sure, like, in any sport, there's always couch commentators who might, you know, underestimate things.
"From my side, I can say that it's not an easy job. If you look at the numbers, Lewis is the most successful driver in F1 history, and I need to go up against him with decent speed and consistency weekend after weekend. So yeah, it's not an easy place to be.
"But that really motivates me, and that's the goal for me to try and beat him. That will keep me going and that will keep me pushing myself again, hopefully to a next level."
Despite criticism, Bottas admits that Lewis Hamilton has sometimes been able to do something impressive that he can’t understand even though the Finn has learned to understand the differences between them.
"There are times that I've struggled to understand how is that possible: whether it's a single corner, or whether it has been a stint on a certain track with a certain tyre compound,
"But there's always reasons and we always dig for those reasons.
"The worst thing is to leave something that you don't understand. I know that the team has pretty smart engineers, so they can always dig out the reasons and give an explanation and tell me how I can try and match that or do better."
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