Mercedes-AMG Motorsport‘s Valtteri Bottas is looking forward to qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix after two varied practice sessions. He acknowledged that the first is “always a bit difficult”, due to the heat and humidity affecting the track conditions.
The Finn completed a total of 26 laps in the first session, setting his best lap of the session, a 1:31.328 on the soft tyre, placing him third.
Team-mate, reining World Champion Lewis Hamilton, ran a total of 26 laps, and set a 1:31.601, also on the soft tyre, putting him just behind.
In the second session, Bottas ran a total of 36 laps, setting his fastest, a 1:29.557, once again on the soft tyre, placing him third. Hamilton took fourth place with a 1:29.449.
“Free Practice 1 is always a bit difficult in Bahrain because the track is still a bit dusty and the track temperatures are very high, much higher than they are in Qualifying and the race,” said Bottas.
He added: “The car balance didn’t feel great in the first session, but we made some changes in between the session and the car felt much better in Free Practice 2.”
Bottas said he thinks it will be a challenge this season to compete against Scuderia Ferrari, with them being able to show their strength at the first race of the season in Albert Park, but he is confident nonetheless.
“It looks like it’s going to be very close with us and Ferrari, they are clearly faster around here than they were in Melbourne. So we will have some work to do to improve the set-up of our car and I personally also have room for improvement left.
“It looks like it will be a hard fight tomorrow, which will make Qualifying very exciting.”, he said.