Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Valtteri Bottas says he and the Silver Arrows are ready for the new season to get underway in two weeks time at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain following the three days of pre-season testing at the circuit in Bahrain despite facing a number of challenges over the course of the test which included some issues with the car and a sand storm.
The Brackley based outfit completed 140 laps on the final day of track action and speaking following his run in the W12, Valtteri Bottas said:
Day one was compromised for me so I’m pleased the past two days have been efficient and clean. Today, like yesterday, we had plenty of laps and ran good quality tests. I’m still not entirely comfortable but we’ve been moving forward and getting better. There’s still more work to do; we’ve collected lots of data over these past few days which we will analyse to help us make the car faster ahead of the first race.
Time is even more limited now with the recent changes but our recovery from the first day has been very good. I absolutely believe that the car and team has the potential to fight for the title. I don’t think the package is quite there yet in terms of performance but I have no doubt it will be. I feel like I’ve had enough time in the car, performing short runs and long runs, and I really feel comfortable and confident. From my side I’m ready and as a team, we will be ready.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton says he is just looking forward to embarking on a new journey with the team. Speaking following the action, he commented saying:
I’ve never been a massive fan of testing, I just love racing! It’s probably the only year I would have asked for more days though, because we’ve got lots of work to do. We’ve never felt in the past that we were quicker than everyone else after testing because you never know what people are doing with the fuel and set-ups. We always just focus on understanding our car the best way we can so if I’m honest, I feel the same this year. We won’t know until we get to qualifying in two weeks’ time exactly where we stand.
Today we made some improvements but it’s still not where we want to be. I can’t pick out any one area, it just feels globally through the lap that we need to improve. I’m looking forward to getting back into competition and back in that focus mode. Our team is all rowing in the same boat – we win and we lose together. I’m just happy to start another journey together with these boys and girls.
Chief race engineer, Andrew Shovlin commented saying:
We’ve had another day with good reliability where we were able to run to plan throughout the day. Valtteri was doing long run setup work in the morning and Lewis doing a mix of long run work and qualifying work in the afternoon. We’ve made a bit of progress with the balance on higher fuel and the car was more predictable but we can see from the data we’ve collected over the last few days that on race pace, we’re not as quick as Red Bull. The lower fuel work was a more confusing picture, we didn’t gain enough and we need to go and look at our approach as far too many cars were ahead of us on pace today. We’ve had issues in recent years with pace in winter testing and managed to make good progress before the first race but we may have our work cut out this time. We’ve not got long before we’re back here for the race so we’ve planned a programme of work to try and understand some of our issues and will be leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to find some more speed over the next ten days.