Valtteri Bottas was pleased to be quick straight out of the box at the Circuit Paul Ricard on Friday, with the Finn ending the day with the fastest time after making a few changes to the set-up of his W10 in between sessions.
The Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver ended the morning session with the second quickest time, just 0.069 seconds behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but Bottas improved significantly in the afternoon, with the Finn the only driver to dip below the 1:31 second barrier thanks to his lap of 1:30.937.
The Paul Ricard circuit has been primarily resurfaced ahead of this years French Grand Prix and Bottas was amongst those to realise the track was much more slippery than last year, but once he found a rhythm, he was pleased with the progress he was able to make across the day.
“It was not easy in the beginning; everyone struggled in the morning because the track was much more slippery than usual,” said Bottas. “But the track ramped up quickly, I could feel big gains on a lap-by-lap basis, especially in the corners.
“The more the track improved, the better the balance of the car felt. Despite the balance issues, the car was quick out of the box which is always a good start. We’ve made good changes between the sessions and I felt much more comfortable in FP2, which is why the lap time was better.”
Bottas feels it might be a struggle to conserve the Pirelli tyres this weekend, particularly on race day if the temperatures that affected running on Friday continue or indeed increase as predicted into Sunday.
“It’s really warm out there, and it will only get warmer, so tyres are going to be on the limit, especially on Sunday,” said the Finn. “We still struggle with the balance over the course of the entire lap, so we’ll have a good look at the data tonight to see what we can improve for tomorrow.”