Valtteri Bottas said that he was pleased to do his first race simulation in the new Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport W09 EQ Power+, as the German team sided against troubling the top of the field.
Like team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Bottas’s fastest time was set on the medium compound tyres, as the Finn finished fractionally ahead of Hamilton in eighth, completing 97 laps.
Bottas said that race simulations are the most useful programmes in winter testing, saying that you can explore different lines and approaches over the long distances.
“Today was one of those days that you learn the most from as a driver,” Bottas mused.
“For the first time this year, I did a race simulation with a proper race distance. You have the mind-set that it’s a race and try to take everything out of the car and the tyres.
“A real race distance gives you more time to learn and experience different driving lines.”
Bottas tested an early specification of the 2018 tyre compounds in Abu Dhabi, days after he claimed victory around the Yas Marina Circuit – the last race of the 2017 season. The Finn said that the medium tyre “is behaving well” on the resurfaced Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and that the team are increasing their understanding by the day.
“The race run seemed quite competitive, everything felt alright,” he added.
“The Medium tyre is behaving well on this track and in these conditions.
“Both the team and I have been understanding the new tyres more and more every day. But, we need keep in mind that it will be very different in Australia.”
Mercedes are set continue with Bottas sharing testing duties with Hamilton tomorrow, the final day of winter testing. Bottas emphasised the importance of the final day, as it’s the final time the drivers can be in the car before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix at the end of the month.
“I still have another half day left in the car tomorrow afternoon.
“It will be the last time I’m going to be in the car before Melbourne, so we need to make sure we make the most out of that time, run all the tests we still need to do and learn as much as we can.
“Overall, today was a very positive day and a real teaser for Melbourne.”