Valtteri Bottas believes Williams can prove it is "best of the rest" in Bahrain and deliver the maiden podium of his career.

Williams looked strong throughout pre-season testing but was hurt by wet qualifying session at each of the opening two grands prix. Having qualified fourth in Bahrain, Daniel Ricciardo's grid penalty will see Bottas start third - matching the best performance of his F1 career so far - and he believes he can hold station behind Mercedes to finish on the podium.

"It's a possibility," Bottas said. "You never know what's going to happen in the race but we have the pace to fight for the podium. It's a fact that Mercedes is too quick but we have a good chance to be best of the rest."

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Williams was strong on fuel consumption in Malaysian and Bottas believes that trend will continue in Sunday's race.

"I think this track is a bit more difficult for fuel and a really low safety car chance. We know that we are strong fuel consumption-wise so we will see if it helps us or not."

With qualifying taking place in dry conditions, Bottas said he was relieved to be able to show the car's full potential for the first time over one lap.

"It's really nice to have a clean Saturday with no rain. Finally we got to qualify where the speed of the car was. I think the rain always mixed it up and we knew we needed a dry qualy to see where we are. Today we put everything together as a team and I had a good lap and that was the result. I'm really pleased with the progress we've been making from last year."

It hasn't been a completely smooth weekend, however, as Williams opted to do little running in practice in order to save mileage on various components. Bottas admitted that decision almost left him on the back foot going in to qualifying.

"For a driver missing FP1 is not easy. Even in qualifying I was still myself improving and then finally in Q3 I could get the best lap of the weekend. So it was a bit on the limit and we need to have a look in the future. If we're going to do less mileage in practice then we have to see then, but we got away with it."