Valtteri Bottas says that reigning Formula 1 world champions Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport has “immediately” started to improve its new-for-2019 W10 inside the first day of winter testing.
Mercedes focussed on long-distance running on the C2 tyres, the second hardest dry compound constructed by Pirelli for the 2019 season, with both Bottas and world champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton sharing driving duties at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Bottas headed the test for Mercedes in the morning, completing 69 laps and setting a best time of 1 minute 20.127 seconds to leave him eighth fastest – 0.008s ahead of Hamilton.
Due to the nature of Mercedes’ programme, both Bottas and Hamilton could not get within 1.9 seconds of Sebastian Vettel‘s session-topping time for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow.
“I quite enjoyed this morning, it’s good to be back at the track,” said Bottas.
“I did 69 laps and there were no major issues with the car, so it was a relatively successful run.”
Bottas gathered tyre and aerodynamic data on the W10, unveiled at the Silverstone International Circuit last Wednesday, and said that Mercedes has already found improvements in car balance.
The Finn will spend Tuesday morning on the sidelines before taking over from Hamilton in the afternoon in a role-reversal. Bottas enters 2019 under pressure to better his troublesome ’18 campaign, a year that made him the first Mercedes driver to fail to take a victory since Michael Schumacher in ’12.
“Since the car is brand new, we immediately found ways to improve the balance and the behaviour and we will continue to work on that in the next days,” he continued.
“It’s good to see the car running well and it proves that the entire team is doing a great job, both in Brackley and Brixworth, but also here at the track. I’m looking forward to a more time in the car tomorrow afternoon.”