Valtteri Bottas: “I’m positively surprised by the track”

The Williams Martini Racing outfit have a strong and productive first day at Sochi as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa found their rhythm around the newest track on the Formula 1 calendar in Russia.

Bottas was in the top ten in both free practice sessions on Friday, placing tenth in free practice one and fifth in free practice two. He was happily surprised to find the track more of a challenge that he was expecting, but feels it was a good start on a track that seems to suit the Williams well.

“I’m positively surprised by the track as it’s more challenging than I expected with quite a few technical sections, especially the final sector and I found it enjoyable to drive,” insisted Bottas. “The asphalt is quite smooth and combined with the hard compounds we saw little tyre degradation today, but this has corresponding challenges as it makes it harder to get the tyres to work on your opening laps.

“We therefore have work to do to make sure we get the most out of the tyres for qualifying tomorrow but overall a good start for us and this track seems to suit our car pretty well.”

Team-mate Massa was also quick around the Sochi circuit, finishing eleventh in the first session and seventh in the second. Like Bottas, he believes the car is well suited to the track, and was content with his first day on circuit.

“The first day is always about understanding each corner and finding out what lines you need to take and where you can push the car,” stated Massa. “My first impression is that the car seems to be performing well around here and I like the track layout.

“The track surface was very slippery this morning but the track improved a lot over the day and we will see it getting better as the weekend progresses. I’m pretty happy with the cars balance and it’s performing consistently so overall I’m happy with our days running.”