Formula 1

Bottas Expecting ‘Close Fight’ Between Mercedes and Ferrari in Montréal

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Valtteri Bottas enjoyed his practice day ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, with the Finn finishing inside the top three in both sessions around a very dusty Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Friday.

Bottas was running with the updated power unit for the first time on Friday, with the Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver being edged out on top spot in the morning session by team-mate Lewis Hamilton, before concluding the day with the third fastest time in the afternoon behind the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers.

“I really enjoyed today, it was good fun out there,” revealed Bottas.  “This track is always very dusty at the beginning and keeps improving, so you need to find the grip step by step.

“That’s what I like about this circuit because it’s different every time you go out and you always need to discover it again, get a feel for it and learn.”

Bottas revealed that he could feel the difference the new power unit made during his time on track, even though a fuel pressure issue cost him some track time at the very end of the morning session.  Although he feels positive about the new power unit, he expects the battle between Mercedes and Ferrari to intensify on Saturday, particularly during Qualifying.

“The car feels strong, but we have some work to do on the balance; the car became more difficult to drive with the changes we made for FP2, but it also felt a little quicker,” said the Finn.  “So we need to review if there’s anything we could have done better for FP2 and what we’re going to do for tomorrow.

“It’s nice to have a new engine with a bit more power; it’s not a huge difference, but you can feel it, and it’s a really good feeling. The car seemed strong on both long and short runs, but Ferrari was very quick on the straights, so I expect it to be a very close fight tomorrow.

“But I like this track and I’m confident, so I’m looking forward to qualifying.”

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