Long run pace main focus for Bottas in Bahrain test

Valtteri Bottas - 2017 Bahrain GP. Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas topped the times during the final day of in-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, having completed 143 laps of running.

The German team worked through a programme of tyre and aerodynamic analysis, engine development evaluation and setup work, with their main focus trying to understand their pace and tyre management over long-runs, a factor that had hindered the Finn’s performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Bottas was pleased with the progress made and felt he had learnt plenty to take away for the upcoming races.

“Today was very good. We got so much running done. We were focusing all-day on the long-run pace, which was a bit of a problem for us on Sunday compared to Ferrari.

“We did some interesting tests to try to improve both the tyre life and the race pace. We have definitely got plenty to analyse tonight. I think I learned a few tricks today as well.”

The Finn set a best time of 1:31.280 on the super-soft tyre late in the afternoon, three tenths up on Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, though the German driver only completed a total of five laps all day.

It was not all plain sailing for Mercedes either however, when Bottas was forced to stop because of a mechanical issue with the steering wheel. The problem was quickly rectified however, and the Finn was back on his way.

An extra two days of work on top of a double weekend of race action has meant a busy couple of weeks for Bottas, but the Finn is already looking forward to getting into the car again, when F1 heads to Russia, in just under two weeks time.

“To stay here in Bahrain for a test after two back to back races is tough, but the guys have done a great job over these two days of testing.

“Now we head home for a few days before the next race in Russia.”