Bottas, left, and teammate Hamilton. Photo: ANDREU DALMAU/EPA

Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas is hoping to turn his three second places into a victory in this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

Last Sunday the Finn finished behind Mercedes teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton, and feels that he is hitting his targets this season after a tough start to the campaign.

Bottas started 2018 with a crash in qualifying in Australia, collecting a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change that left him 15th on the grid, but finished the race in eighth place.

He then bounced back by out-qualifying Hamilton in Bahrain and China, finishing second in both races, and was runner-up again on Sunday in a race the champion dominated.

Had he not drawn a blank in Azerbaijan, Bottas would be a lot closer to Hamilton than the current 37 points.

Bottas, whose future beyond 2018 remains uncertain, says: “I think this year I’ve been meeting more or less my targets with the performance for the beginning of the year.

“I think I’ve been able to really continue good performance since the very end of last year. There’s been no weekends that I’ve been really way off the pace, like there was a few last year.

“So I think I’ve learned from those; I just need to continue my development, there’s never things that you can’t learn more.”

Bottas won the 2017 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after an uneven first year at Mercedes following his move from Williams to replace retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton currently leads the Driver's Standings with 95 points, with Sebastian Vettel in second on 78 and Bottas in third on 58.

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