There are just three races to go in one of the hardest fought, most closely contested Formula One championships in recent history – and Valtteri Bottas believes he knows where the drivers’ title is headed.
His Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton trails Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by 14 points ahead of this weekend’s venture into previously uncharted F1 territory as Qatar prepares to host a grand prix for the first time.
“If I could predict the future I would say we’re going to win the championship,” Bottas told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies from trackside at the Losail International Circuit.
“It’s not going to come easy and I’m definitely rooting for Lewis – he’s gonna get it.”
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Last week’s thrilling Sao Paulo Grand Prix threw up yet more controversy between the two title contenders as Mercedes complained Verstappen had pushed Hamilton wide unfairly on lap 48 but race stewards took no further action.
The incident was merely the latest to stir a verbal spat between the teams this season, but Bottas believes that’s just part of the sport.
“I feel like it’s going to be won on the track, there’s obviously lots of things going on off the track – it’s F1,” Bottas said.
“I feel it’s going to go, most likely, to Abu Dhabi and whoever is going to be the winner there is going be the champion,” added Bottas, referring to the season finale on December 12.
Hamilton is looking to add to his seven F1 titles, while Verstappen is hunting for his first.
Bottas, who is set to leave Mercedes for Alfa Romeo at the end of this year’s campaign, is third in the championship standings on 203 points. He picked up his only race win of the season in Turkey last month.