Bottas confident of Mercedes improvement in spite of reliability issue

by James Eagles
Valtteri Bottas - Formula 1 - 2019 Winter Testing

Valtteri Bottas believes that Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport has made improvements to its new-for-2019 W10 Formula 1 car, even with limited running due to an oil pressure issue.

Bottas stopped on-track on his outlap after taking over testing duties from team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon, prompting Mercedes to change the power unit as a precautionary step.

The Finn managed to get back out on track in the final moments of Tuesday’s session, moving above Hamilton in the order with a time of a 1 minute 20.167 seconds, 0.165s faster than the world champion’s best effort, in just six laps.

Mercedes brought its revised aerodynamic package to the Circuit de Barcelona-Barcelona for the final week of winter testing, attempting to claw back the potential pace deficit to week one frontrunners Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow.

“Unfortunately, after four days of flawless reliability last week, I spent most of the day waiting as we had an oil pressure issue on my first outlap and had to change the power unit,” said Bottas.

“But I’m glad I still got to do a few laps, the team did a really good job to get the car out again; it was important to get a bit of a feel for the new aero package.”

29-year-old Bottas said that despite his lack of track time on Tuesday, he’s confident that Mercedes has made steps forward in the W10’s development.

He was expected to continue Mercedes’ usual afternoon programme of testing how various set-up changes affect the balance of the car, but the truncated running saw those plans fall away.

“My running was obviously very limited, but it seems like we’ve made improvements,” Bottas added.

“We need to review everything in more detail tonight and I’m looking forward to continuing our programme tomorrow morning.”

Hamilton completed a more pleasing total of 83 laps in the morning’s session, briefly running at the head of the field early on.

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