Valtteri Bottas thinks he can now beat Sebastian Vettel to second in the Formula 1 world championship, after slashing the points gap at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel’s title hopes suffered a big blow in Singapore when he crashed out in the wake of a chain reaction incident involving Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen as well.
The retirement has allowed title rival Lewis Hamilton to open up a 28-points advantage in the drivers’ standings, with Bottas now just 23 points further back.
While Bottas acknowledges that beating Hamilton to the title is a bit of a tall order now, he thinks that overhauling Vettel is still on the cards.
"I think that is definitely the next target for me – and, yes, it is possible,” explained Bottas, who finished third in the Singapore GP.
“This was good race for us, for me and Lewis in terms of points. The next couple of races are hopefully good for us.
“But we are not underestimating them [Ferrari]. For sure, they can still have strong weekends. Six races to go, there are still plenty of points to get, so it is a good target for me.”
While Hamilton’s tussle with Vettel will likely take priority for the team as things stand, Bottas still believes that his bosses will do what they can to help him edge out Vettel.
“The hunger to win and to finish strong is so big [at Mercedes] that definitely we want to be 1-2 in the drivers’ championship,” he said. “The priority is to get the constructors, but we want to be 1-2.
“For the team, it is important to win the drivers’ championship. I will just focus on trying to get Sebastian, and I am sure the team is behind me as well.
“I am not thinking too much about the gap to Lewis. It is quite big now but I just need to go race-by-race and close it until the end, if there are still possibilities or not.
“He is having a good run at the moment but I just need to raise my game and then it is quite open.”