Williams F1 Team drivers Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado are eager to put on a show for the ever-enthusiastic fans at the Japanese Grand Prix.
“Japan is one of my favourite races of the season, not only because of the track layout but because of the huge community of fans that are incredibly passionate about the sport and create one of the best atmospheres of the season,” said Maldonado. “The Suzuka Circuit is a proper Formula One track, especially the first part which is uphill and has lots of changes of direction and high speed corners. This is a very challenging track layout for car set-up and you need to find a good overall car balance, the tyres need to be operating within the right temperatures and pressures, aero efficiency must be good and mechanically you need to have the right set-up. Without these elements coming together you feel a noticeable drop in performance and you can pay a high penalty in terms of laptime.”
Bottas, competing in his debut season in Formula 1, competed in Free Practice 1 for Williams at last season’s Japanese Grand Prix, putting in 24 laps, ending with the 18th fastest time, 0.9 seconds off of Maldonado’s fastest time.
“Suzuka immediately became my favourite track because of the high speed and the special corner combinations,” said the Finn. “Sector 1 is especially fun to drive because it is a bit like a rollercoaster with its quick changes in elevation. It can be difficult to overtake on this track so doing well in qualifying will be important, but the weather can be quite variable so that can open up opportunities to play with the strategy. The fans also make this a special race; they are very supportive and there are a lot of fans who support Finnish drivers.”
Williams will be looking to improve on their Korean Grand Prix performance, which saw Bottas and Maldonado finish 12th and 13th respectively, with Maldonado still leading his team-mate in the championship with a solitary point to his name.