A bushy beard, burning eyes and bold statements of readiness for a tough fight with the teammate - it seems this year we will really see the new Valtteri Bottas, who is no longer going to agree to the role of "number two driver" in the team.
The season-2018, obviously, was the worse for Valtteri: no one win, team orders and "wingman role" for Lewis Hamilton. No wonder the Finn was disappointed with his performance last year. Moreover, he could lose his place at Mercedes for 2020 to Esteban Ocon. So now, after winter break Bottas returned stronger and more confident, and with a huge intent completely turn the tide.
In recent interviews from Barcelona tests, the driver doesn’t hide that he will play his own game and achieve his own goals in the upcoming season.
"I didn’t shave in the winter, I liked how it looks and it fits with what I want to convey. I'm ready to do what's necessary this year to achieve my goals, and if I have to work harder in some places, that's part of it,"– Bottas said.
Valtteri's resolve looks very impressive, however, the main question remains open: will Mercedes give a freedom to its drivers?
It is obvious that this year the fight between the two top teams will escalate even more. Sebastian Vettel is hungry to win more than ever. Charles Leclerc is hungry for a brilliant debut in Ferrari. And Ferrari is hungry for the long-awaited title. On the other hand, Mercedes and Lewis aren't going to stop. Therefore, while it is hard to believe that the team will allow Bottas and Hamilton to lead the team fight. However, Valtteri’s determination makes sense - if he doesn't show himself as a leader, he risks losing his place in Formula 1.
"I only have one career, and if I always support instead of attack for myself, I will never reach my goals. I have been in F1 for six years now and I'm not where I want to be. I want to be able to say at the end of the year: «I did everything. I could not have done better»."
Bottas says he refused to join in psychological war with Hamilton. He says, he has another plan for achieving the success.