The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team had a much better second day of pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday as Valtteri Bottas ended the day in first place with a time of 01:30.289s and speaking following the action the Finn said:
It was a lot better for me than yesterday, for sure. I finally managed to get some laps and some clean runs to really learn about the new car and try some things. It’s always good when you learn and that’s what testing is all about – the opportunity to run different things and see how the car reacts. As a driver you use that information in a race weekend so it’s hugely important. If the set-up changes work or don’t work, it’s all valuable information.
For sure it’s windier here than we’ve had at a race but one of the bigger issues with the car is the rear end, it’s quite snappy and unforgiving. With the new tyres, it’s quite sensitive so we need to calm the car down a bit.
(On topping the timing charts)… it’s so difficult to say what that means. I can’t be jumping around happy – it is only testing. As always, we are just focused on getting through our programme and maximising the learning. You never know what fuel loads people are running. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow, we will have a better idea of where we are.
Testing is limited and a lot more compromised this year for everyone, you have less time in the car before the first race so I would be happy if we could just get through the final day tomorrow nice and clean. Today felt good and the times were pretty fast, so I just want more laps and more feeling with car.
Defending champion Lewis Hamilton ended the day in 15th place with a time of 01:33.399s and speaking following the action he said:
It was OK, better than yesterday – not so much sand. The track doesn’t have a huge amount of grip and long runs aren’t the easiest but at least the sun was out! The balance was slightly improved compared to yesterday but we’re still working through certain things.
For today the wind did a 180° shift so the track was very different, and you could push in certain places where you couldn’t yesterday. It was very gusty as I found out at turn 13 and the rear doesn’t feel particularly great with this new regulation change but we’re still trying to find the sweet spot.
I’ve done 60-odd laps today and Valtteri missed a lot of track time yesterday so it’s not a lot compared to other tests we’ve had but we’re trying to be as effective as we can. We have less mileage than some of the others like Red Bull but we’re just trying to stick to our programme and manage the laps to try to be efficient. We’re just focusing on understanding the car, there’s no point in getting worried.
Mercedes Engineer Andrew Shovlin said:
It was a better day than yesterday and we were able to run to plan in both sessions. Lewis was in for the morning working on setup items and data collection and Valtteri continued with similar work in the early part of the afternoon. We then spent the latter part of the day doing qualifying simulations with Valtteri on the softer compounds. We’ve made progress on the setup today and the balance was more together by the end of the session, albeit in calmer and cooler conditions. But the car is still a bit of a handful in the warmer and windier conditions of the morning and that’s something we need to get to grips with tomorrow. It’s going to be a busy day; we’ve got more than enough to do so we’re hoping for a trouble-free da