14 March 2014
Australian Grand Prix: Bottas impressed by Mercedes pace
Williams' Valtteri Bottas enjoyed a clean run on the opening day of the 2014 F1 season, but says Mercedes looks very quick
Valtteri Bottas believes Williams made a good start to its Australian Grand Prix weekend, but stopped short of predicting where the team sat after noting Mercedes' impressive pace.
The Finn finished up in eighth position on the timesheets after FP2, with team-mate Felipe Massa twelfth overall, and believed that the showing was representative of Williams' potential, particularly as the team ran without the sort of dramas that befell others in the pit-lane.
“It was a good Friday for us,” he commented, “The car ran without any problems and the team has done a very good job as it's been in thousands of pieces since testing. It's nice to see it still works!
“We got through the programme, a lot of set-up work and both short and also some long runs at the end, so it was a very valuable day.”
Despite not being able to complete a lap in the opening session, Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes at the top of the times in FP2, providing extra encouragement for Williams, which shares the same power unit.
“The time Mercedes did today was very quick, no matter what was in the fuel tank,” Bottas noted, “In terms of where we are, it's still too early to say. I think it's fair to say that we are somewhere in the top ten, but whereabouts we'll see tomorrow.”
With a two-second time difference between the respective soft and medium tyres, Bottas acknowledged that rubber was going to play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the weekend.
“[The long run on softs] wasn't too bad,” he reported, “It lasted longer than I expected and was a bit more consistent than I expected too, but the surface here isn't as rough as in Bahrain and always gives an easier time to the tyres.
“I don't think one stop is going to be possible, but Felipe did a longer run with the prime than I did with the options. I haven't seen the lap times yet so we need to analyse that, but at least we got some good data.”
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