Valtteri Bottas facing 'most difficult time of my career' in F1

Valtteri Bottas says he is facing the most difficult moment in his Formula 1 career, after struggling for form again in the Malaysian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas facing 'most difficult time of my career' in F1

Having had a challenging start to the second half of the season, Bottas came home fourth and more than 40 seconds behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Sepang.

"Being honest, it may be the most difficult time of my career so far, in terms of how it feels every time I go in the car," said Bottas.

"I just want to perform. I want to be in a good level and I haven't been doing that for some time for various reasons.

"There are many question marks still for me, for the team, so I definitely want to turn it around quickly.

"If I keep doing races like this for long, that is not going to be a good thing for anyone.

Hamilton: Mercedes has work to do

"The team needs the points. I need the points, I want the points.

"I want to do much better than this, so definitely I want to turn it around quickly - and we need to do whatever is needed to do it but like I said many, many question marks."

Bottas said that he is facing an accumulation of problems, as difficulties in getting a good balance result in tyre temperatures getting out of kilter which further affects the car handling.

"For me the main issue was mainly struggling more with the front end, which hasn't really been the case many times this year," he said

"Now in the mid corners I am losing a lot of front end.

"It is tricky to get the car turned, overheating the front left tyre, also four wheel sliding in high speed corners.

"In the race, if I tried to go quicker, I just slide more, and struggle more with the tyre temps.

"It is all about just trying to manage and keep the temps under control in the race, and it is definitely not nice."

While the difficulties of finding the right balance for the Mercedes W08 are nothing new, Bottas thinks that the situation he and the team face now is more complicated than after the troubled Monaco GP in May.

When asked if the level of doubt was the same as happened after Monaco, he said: "I think they are even bigger. Monaco is such a unique track, and it is not so easy to get the car right there.

"With different type of cars, some cars don't really work well there.

"But in a track like this [Sepang], and for us to come here thinking that we should be quite competitive, it has been difficult. We need to understand very quickly.

"All the next races they are going to be really important. Still for us as a team nothing has been won yet, so hopefully we can understand within a week or two - because otherwise it could be too late."

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