Valtteri Bottas: “The initial feeling of the car was good”

Valtteri Bottas finished second fastest on day one
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Valtteri Bottas ended the opening day of the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona with the second fastest time of the day, and felt positive over the initial feelings of the W09 Hybrid.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver, who took three wins in his first season with the team in 2017, completed fifty-eight laps of the circuit during the morning session of the test before handing over the driving duties to team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and the Finn ended up just 0.170 seconds off the best time of the day, set by Daniel Ricciardo.

“Our first morning here in Barcelona was very positive,” said Bottas. “We got everything done that we had planned. The main mission for the morning was to gather aerodynamic data, so I was doing runs at constant speeds.

“I got a few practice laps for myself as well; but that kind of running was very limited. We didn’t do any performance running, so I haven’t pushed the W09 to its limits yet.

“The initial feeling of the car was good, it was behaving well. I couldn’t point out any negatives compared to last year’s car, only positives so far.”

Bottas felt the cold conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya made the day extremely challenging, particularly as the car, and the tyres are not designed to run at such low temperatures, but he at least had the consolation that everyone had the same dilemma.

“It was really good to be back in the car; it felt like I haven’t been away at all,” revealed the Finn. “It didn’t take any time to get used to the car – that’s a good feeling. Driving these cars is still hard work for the drivers, but I had a good training programme over the winter, so I felt physically prepared.

“The weather conditions today were a bit tricky with the cold temperatures. Neither the cars nor the tyres are made to be driven in five degrees Celsius. We ran two sets of Medium tyres. In these conditions it was difficult to get enough heat into them to get them working properly.

“That’s been the main challenge of the day, but that’s the same for everyone. The amount of testing we can do is limited so we have to make the most of it.”