Valtteri Bottas thanked the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team for their hard work throughout the 2018 season and the final post-season test in Abu Dhabi.
Bottas set the second and fourth fastest times on the first and second days of testing respectively, unable to match either Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. Bottas recorded his best laps on the new 2019 hyper-softs – or compound 5 – completing 263 laps across the two days at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Bottas explained that Mercedes’ programme included medium and long stint running, in an attempt to gather data on all the ’19 slick compounds. Pirelli Motorsport have endeavoured to decrease the harshness of graining on the hyper-softs while keeping a similar pace in the tyre.
“It’s been another good day of testing,” said Bottas. “We managed to complete even more laps than yesterday, hitting 143 laps.
“Today we worked on compound scans, trying all the 2019 compounds from the hardest to the softest rubber. We focused on medium and long runs, gathering plenty of data and learning about the tyres.
“This week we’ve got lots of data for the team to analyse over the winter and we can’t wait to dig into it.”
Testing marked the final time that Bottas will officially step into the W09, the car that brought Mercedes their fifth consecutive Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. 2018 marked a tough year for Bottas, the 29-year-old struggling with a lack of fortune, pace and confidence and failing to record a single victory to team-mate Lewis Hamilton‘s total of 11. In addition to that, Bottas finished the season in a disappointing fifth place in the Drivers’ standings, 161 points adrift of title winner Hamilton.
In spite of his adversities on track, Bottas paid tribute to the W09 and the Mercedes team’s efforts over the year. The Finn made sure to note the work put in over the final two days of testing, saying that the team were “working like clockwork”.
“Today was my last time on track with the W09, so I enjoyed it,” he added.
“It’s been a good car for us and it was nice to say goodbye. It’s been a long season, but everyone was still pushing this week, working like clockwork. Thanks to everyone for all their hard work this year.”