Valtteri Bottas has Plan B if he loses Mercedes seat to Esteban Ocon
Valtteri Bottas says he has a back-up plan should he lose his Mercedes Formula 1 seat for 2020 to reserve driver Esteban Ocon.
Mercedes is currently evaluating whether to retain Bottas or promote long-term junior and current reserve Ocon – who raced for Manor and Force India from mid-2016 to 2018 – as Lewis Hamilton’s 2020 team-mate.
Bottas won two of the opening four grands prix to lead the championship but has yet to return to the top step of the podium, and is now 62 points behind Hamilton.
“Of course when you are in this situation, as with everything in Formula 1, you need to have a Plan B and, sometimes, even a Plan C,” said Bottas.
“For sure when you’re talking about stuff it’s always good to have different plans and that’s what I’m doing.
“I’m not really nervous [on the future], but for sure it would be nice to hear some news from the team, to know what they want to do, as well.”
Bottas’ season has come undone in recent grands prix as a crash in Germany was followed by a low-key eighth in Hungary, having sustained damage on the opening lap.
“That’s the thing in this sport, you try to be on the limit, calculating the risks, just enough,” he said.
“Pushing hard, trying to take the opportunities but trying not to f*** up like today. That’s how it goes.
“For sure when contract-wise you’re on the limit, it never helps. Some people might think some drivers perform better under pressure when things are on the limit but, for sure, for me it doesn’t help.
“I can’t say that going into Turn 1 I was thinking about it – I don’t think so… But I was very hungry for the win, not matter if there are contract talks or not. I wanted to win this race, so I took the risk.
“It just didn’t go quite as planned, it could have been a lot different, we’re talking about centimeters here and there, so… that’s how it goes.”
Bottas added that he felt Charles Leclerc swiped across the front of his car in a “completely unnecessary” manner as they battled on the run to Turn 4.
“At the time, when it happened, I thought I must have been focusing on something else and maybe I didn’t see him, because it happened pretty quick,” he said.
“But then I saw the onboards, and when I saw it from [Sebastian] Vettel’s onboard, it was pretty clear that I was just going straight ahead, he was on the right and he would have been, anyway, ahead of me before Turn 4, but suddenly he just swept across and for me it was too late to react.
“I mean, I love hard racing, that’s for sure, but that was just completely unnecessary, it compromised my race, he was lucky not to get a puncture, so that’s not how it should be.”