Valtteri Bottas feels he's eliminated the inconsistency of his 2017 campaign

Results might not have gone Valtteri Bottas' way so far in 2018, but the Finn believes he is performing at a far higher level than he was last season.

After five races, Bottas is third in the standings and 37 points behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Since crashing out of qualifying at the season opener in Australia, He has finished third three times, although he could have won in Spain were it not for a late Safety Car and would have won in Azerbaijan had he not suffered a race-ending puncture while leading with a handful of laps remaining.

Bottas thinks he has eliminated the inconsistency which saw him fail to match Hamilton's title-winning form in the second half of the 2017.

"This year I have been meeting more or less my targets with the performance for the beginning of the year," Bottas said. "I've been able to really continue good performances from the end of last year.

"And there have been no weekends that I have been way off the pace, like there were a few last year. So I feel I have learned from those, and need to continue my development.

"There are never things that you can't learn more, so I still hope I keep improving. There's been quite mixed races, and the end results haven't been quite there, that I feel would have been possible with the pace we've had."

Bottas is yet to enter talks with Mercedes about a contract extension beyond 2018. That decision is likely to hinge on his form later in the year but team boss Toto Wolff is impressed with the step forward Bottas had made so far this season.

"Valtteri has been upping his game through the last races and has been very solid indeed," Wolff said."And that proves us right with our decision back in the day.

"And having the two drivers close to each other in terms of performance levels, and equally respecting each other and racing each other fair is the best case."