Bottas feels ‘fit to race’ in Malaysia after back pains

It was a frustrating start of the season for the Williams Martini Racing team in Australia two weeks ago, with Valtteri Bottas being forced to miss the event due to injury and Felipe Massa missing out on a podium finish in fourth.

After being forced to sit out the Australian Grand Prix due to a back injury suffered during qualifying, Bottas admits to have been working hard to ready himself for a return to the cockpit for the Malaysian Grand Prix, and feels ready to resume his role within the Williams team this weekend.

“After such a frustrating Sunday in Australia, I have taken the necessary measures to make sure I arrive in Malaysia fit to race and ready to bring the results home,” revealed Bottas.

“After Melbourne I have stayed in Asia to acclimatise to the hot conditions and adjust to the right time zone. I trained a lot over the winter to prepare for these physically difficult conditions.

“As always, Malaysia is a very hot and humid race, and although these aren’t the ideal conditions for the car we have had some exciting races in Sepang over the years.

“There is also always a risk of rain which we have to be aware of, but it brings some more spice in the suspense.”

Team-mate Massa finished fourth in Australia, missing out on a podium by only a few seconds after being leapfrogged by Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel during the pit stop cycle. Like Bottas, he has been preparing himself for the humidity of Malaysia, and realises the issues the climate presents to both drivers and cars.

“Malaysia is always very hot and very humid, so very difficult physically for the drivers,” said Massa. “The car also has its challenges as the temperature plays its part, so our cooling is very important.

“The rain is an issue as it always rains at the time of day when the race is, but we will be prepared for it.

“I have trained very hard in the heat just for this race and cardio has been important.”

Although in Malaysia, Bottas still needs to be cleared to drive by the FIA, and will be subjected to the same safety checks he was tested on during the Sunday morning in Australia. Should the Finn not be able to participate, Williams will have to decide on a replacement, with Susie Wolff possibly being in line to make her Grand Prix debut having tested the FW37 in Spain during pre-season testing, although the team will have other options available to them.