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Published: 11:17 | 13/6/18

Bottas admits Mercedes in need of upgrades

Valtteri Bottas admits that engine upgrades cannot come quick enough for Mercedes after struggling to keep pace with Ferrari at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on Sunday.

The Finnish driver was second to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who wrestled the lead in the drivers' championship from Bottas' team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

It was Bottas' fourth second place in seven races, but he has yet to step up to the top podium in 2018.

While Bottas just held off Red Bull's Max Verstappen to be best of the rest to Vettel in Canada, four-time champions Hamilton did not have his troubles to seek for a second weekend in a row having struggled for pace in practice and qualifying an overheating issue in the race meant the best he could do was a distant fifth.

Mercedes were due to have an upgrade package ready for Canada, but have held it back for the French Grand Prix, which will be shown live on eir Sport 1 on Sunday, 24 June [start time 3.10pm Irish time] because there were reliability issues with it.

"We need it definitely,” Bottas said. “[Sunday] showed that we are not quick enough. We definitely need it and we are going to get for the next race so that’s good.

“Since lap one really Ferrari seemed to be a bit quicker all the time and they could control the race and were really pushing on it and we got into a little bit of trouble in the end, running out of fuel.

“I think this was the maximum. [Qualifying] was about hundredths of a second, so maybe from pole it could have been different, but from P2 we maxed out. I’m happy for that but I’m not happy that we were behind.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton has denied that he has lost the mind games to fellow four-time champion Vettel in 2018 and insists that with an improved engine he has the mental strength to regain the initiative in the drivers' championship, which he now trails by a point.

"I don't let that get into my mind, no,'' Hamilton said after being asked if he loses interest when his car is not competitive. 

"That will be the first sign of weakness and my mind is not weak. I am still here to win. I still believe that we can win. I've got the complete confidence in my guys and I am putting that energy towards them.

"The moment anybody in any sport, and I would imagine also in business but if you imagine like in tennis or golf or whatever, if you look across the net and you think damn it I might lose this, you've already lost. 

"It doesn't matter where I start on the grid, I don't look at any driver and say 'oh I might lose to that person'. I am like how can I beat them? How can I be better? I am going to keep doing that until I die.''

The French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, near Marseille will be shown live on eir Sport 1 on Sunday, 24 June [start time 3.10pm Irish time] 

Image: Getty Images/Charles Coates

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