Valtteri Bottas has enjoyed the Thursday’s practice running for the Monaco Grand Prix, having set the third and second best times in the two sessions.
The Finnish driver placed himself in third in Free Practice 1, with Max Verstappen splitting the two Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport drivers. Bottas however improved to second place in Free Practice 2, following his team-mate Lewis Hamilton behind by only 0.081 seconds to his fastest time.
Bottas has never finished on the podium at the Monaco Grand Prix with his best result being fourth place in the 2017 edition of the prestigious Grand Prix. Both Hamilton and Bottas’ impressive pace over their rivals have labelled them favourites to take pole position on Saturday for the race.
During practice, Bottas had a brief moment when he went off at Sainte Devote. The Finn was able to spin his car around using the run-off area and returned to the track. Majority of other drivers followed Bottas’ error over the course of the day, including Sebastian Vettel who nearly hit the barrier at the exit of the corner.
The Finnish driver admits that in previous years, he had difficulties feeling comfortable to drive around the twisty streets of Monte-Carlo. Now, Bottas says the Mercedes is drive-able and is enjoying driving around the Principality, believing he has started his weekend on the right foot.
“It’s been a good day for us on track,” said Bottas. “In previous years, the car felt sometimes difficult to drive, but today it was very driveable, responsive and enjoyable.
“You need to find the limits on this track and I felt comfortable to push towards the limit, which is a good sign. Now we need to fine tune the set-up and make sure we keep going in the right direction.
“I think we’ve started the weekend on the right foot, but we’re in Monaco and anything can happen.