Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Valtteri Bottas was happy with his good results in the first two practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix, at Marina Bay this weekend.
The Woking-based outfit has had a solid weekend so far, with Bottas’ British team-mate Lewis Hamilton completing Free Practice 2 and securing second place, just 0.011 seconds off the top spot, Bottas behind in fifth.
“It’s been a very hot day and overall a quite positive day. In Free Practice 1, we rain in the end on the Soft tyres when others were using the HyperSofts or UltraSofts and we knew how much we’d improve on the other compounds,” said Bottas.
The team are in a Championship battle with the Italian Scuderia Ferrari team, whose driver Kimi Räikkönen set the fastest time in the session.
Bottas feels that the car is much quicker, when compared to its performance at the end of the season, meaning the team is now on par with Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
“In Free Practice 2, both Ferrari and Red Bull looked very quick, but we were not far off. The car has been improved massively in the high-downforce trim. It is much quicker, even compared to the beginning of the season.”
Although the car is quicker, this means there is now more pressure put on the driver.
“The fast cars also make it more challenging – the quicker you go – the more G forces you have to pull. It’s especially tough around this track as it is so hot – it’s a bit like doing exercise in a cockpit that’s sixty degrees hot.
“We made big changes from Free Practice 1 to Free Practice 2, not all of which were positive, so we’ll work on this overnight,” said Bottas.
The team will be hoping that the good practice results today will transform into a good grid position for the race on Sunday.