After an encouring start to the season Bottas has now slipped to 39 points behind team-mate Hamilton. Picture: REUTERS
After an encouring start to the season Bottas has now slipped to 39 points behind team-mate Hamilton. Picture: REUTERS

Valtteri Bottas says he will be looking at the "man in the mirror" to find a way to beat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton after falling further behind the runaway Formula One leader in Britain.

The Finn was fastest in Friday practice and started Sunday's race at Silverstone on pole position and yet, as so often happens, it was five-times world champion Hamilton who celebrated on the top step of the podium.

The gap is now 39 points, after Hamilton also bagged an extra point for the fastest lap despite having tyres that had already done more than half the race, with 11 of 21 rounds remaining.

Hamilton has won seven races to two for Bottas, who led the championship early on, and looks unstoppable with the momentum flowing his way.

The Briton's former teammate Nico Rosberg said he had spent two hours with a sports psychologist every other day during an intense and draining 2016 title battle that the German eventually won.

Bottas, whose race strategy was undone by a brief safety car episode that fell into Hamilton's lap, saw no reason for doing anything similar, however, and also had no plans to talk with Rosberg.

"I don't think it would work for me. Every athlete, every person is individual," he told reporters.

"Some need some outside support. I have plenty of good people around me I can talk to and for me it's the man in the mirror that gives the answers if I have hard times or if I doubt. So I plan to solve it myself.

"I don't really see a gain from that at the moment," he added of sports psychology. "I'm not Nico. I know what is best for me."

Bottas has had bad luck before, notably in Azerbaijan last year when a blown tyre three laps from the end snatched the win from him and handed it to Hamilton.

Sunday was another blow, with Bottas fending off his teammate in the early stages and then pitting three laps before the safety car was deployed with Hamilton yet to come in.

The Briton went to the end of race on the one stop. Bottas, who had no choice but to pit again, finished runner-up and nearly 25 seconds behind.

"I honestly think with the pace I had I could have won," said Bottas.

Asked what the man in the mirror would be saying to him, the Finn smiled: "He will say good job all weekend, unlucky. Forget about it, learn whatever you can and move on. Win in Germany."

VETTEL APOLOGISES FOR MAX CRASH

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel apologised to Red Bull rival Max Verstappen on Sunday for a collision that wrecked both of their British Grand Prix podium hopes.

Vettel finished 16th on Sunday after crashing into the back of Verstappen. Picture: REUTERS
Vettel finished 16th on Sunday after crashing into the back of Verstappen. Picture: REUTERS

The four-times world champion, who won all his Formula One titles with Red Bull, accepted the blame for shunting the 21-year-old Dutch driver's car from behind as they scrapped for third place on the 38th of 52 laps.

Stewards found Vettel to blame for the incident and gave the German a 10-second time penalty as well as two penalty points.

"My mistake," said Vettel, who is now languishing 100 points behind Mercedes's championship leader Lewis Hamilton after 10 races.

"Obviously he's not happy but you know, life goes on," he added, confirming that the pair had spoken after the race.

Verstappen, who cemented third place overall in the standings, had passed Vettel but the German slammed into the Red Bull as they braked at Vale, sending both spinning into the gravel.

Vettel pitted for a new front wing, returning at the back of the field and ending up in 16th place, while Verstappen — winner in Austria two weeks ago — continued the race and finished fifth.

"I thought the inside (line) will open up, it didn't open up. It looked for a second as if he was pulling for the middle of the track but then he stayed left and I was too close and I couldn't avoid the crash," said Vettel.

"Obviously I destroyed my race but the race in general was pretty good," he added.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the incident had "knocked Max off a guaranteed podium" with second place behind the Mercedes of race winner Lewis Hamilton a possibility.