Formula 1

Bottas “confident” that he can continue to run upgraded Mercedes engine

2 Mins read
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Despite suffering with a session-ending water leak in Free Practice 2, Valtteri Bottas has said that both he and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport are “confident” that he can continue to run the new, upgraded engine this weekend without additional issues.

Bottas only managed seven laps in FP2, finishing in seventh, a stark contrast to the second placed he managed in the day’s early afternoon session. The Finn stood just a tenth shy of team-mate Lewis Hamilton in FP1 and the same margin ahead of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo as Mercedes enjoyed a healthy start to their French Grand Prix weekend.

The Finn expressed his enjoyment in Formula 1 returning to France for the first time in a decade. The Circuit Paul Ricard may be a new venue on the calendar to the current crop of drivers, but it’s not that unfamiliar. Like many in the field, Bottas raced at Le Castellet in the junior categories and says that he has enjoyed returning to the “very technical” track.

“I enjoy being back in France for a race,” said Bottas. “I’ve only been racing here in junior formulae, so it’s cool to have a Grand Prix here.

“I like the circuit, but it’s a difficult and very technical track, especially going into the back straight around Turns 6 and 7.”

Bottas explained the many downfalls of the aforementioned water leak, including a lack of long running. One positive that he took from a day that Mercedes’ non-executive director Niki Lauda rendered a “test” is that the new power unit, the one that failed late dynamometer tests before the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks’ ago, has not been fully unleashed yet.

“FP1 was decent for us, but FP2 was a little tricky,” he reflected.

“I only got a few laps in, then we had a water leak which we’re currently investigating. Unfortunately, that meant that I didn’t really get a lot of long runs in. We were running the new spec engine today which felt fresh and good, but we didn’t run it yet in full power, so there’s more to discover.

“We need to identify the cause of the water leak, but we’re confident that we continue to run the new engine.” 

The 28-year-old took heart from the early pace shown by Mercedes – Hamilton was seven-tenths clear of second placed Ricciardo in FP2 – but remained cautious, expecting Scuderia Ferrari to ramp up their performance as the weekend progresses.

“We looked competitive in both sessions today, but we know that Ferrari has performance in hand on Fridays, so let’s wait and see what tomorrow and Sunday hold for us.”

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DTM, Formula 1 writer and deputy editor for The Checkered Flag. Autosport Academy member and freelance voice over artist.
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