Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas had a solid first day of practice with his new team in Australia on Friday, and is confident he can improve further as the weekend progresses.
The Finn was six tenths off the pace of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, to make it a Mercedes one-two during the morning’s FP1 session, although the silver arrows were the only team to run the ultra-soft tyre compound.
In FP2 however, Bottas was pipped to second spot by just one hundredth of a second, by the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, but all in all it was a positive first day for the Finn, as he continues to search for that sweet spot in his new machine.
“It was great to be back on track after Barcelona and overall it was a good day today. We still have work to do with the car balance but we got all of our running completed without any issues.
“From my side I definitely feel like I can make a step forward tomorrow. It’ll be a busy evening for us tonight looking through all the data to see where we can improve but it’s a reasonable start.”
The 27-year-old is happy with the tyres selected for the Australian Grand Prix, and says he has a good feeling from the F1 W08 EQ Power+ on every compound, which is a good sign for the race on Sunday.
The Finn definitely feels he has more to give this weekend, and is looking forward to finding out just how much more pace the team has, when they get stuck into the real action of qualifying tomorrow.
“In terms of our pace, it is only practice, so tomorrow we’ll find out exactly where we are. These tyre compounds are the right choice for this race. The softer compounds all felt good.
“Everyone is pushing to the limit, as we saw a few times out there today. This track is always quite dirty at the start of the weekend, but we’ll get used to it.”