Mercedes' Bottas feels "more complete" and at his physical peak after extended F1 break

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Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas believes he is now “more complete as a driver” and at his physical peak following the delayed start to the 2020 Formula 1 season.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the opening 10 events of the year to be cancelled, the new season will get underway on 5 July in Austria – more than seven months after the last F1 race.

While the drivers have only had six days of pre-season testing in February to get to know their 2020 cars in that break, many have used the recent lockdowns to work on their fitness.

Bottas has revealed that using the additional time to focus on his physical condition has given him a boost and increased his confidence heading into the new season.

“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,” Bottas said during an interview with Sky Sports F1.

“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 took four wins and second place in the drivers’ championship in 2019, which marked his best season to date in F1.

But the Finn is still yet to overcome his Mercedes team-mate, six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas reckons the shortened 2020 season will make any errors extra costly, but explained he was pleased with the progress he had made through testing.

“It’s obviously going to be a pretty special season, because it’s going to be shorter than the planned amount of races,” Bottas said.

“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.”

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