Valtteri Bottas believes Williams is in for a close battle with Ferrari and Red Bull in the Austrian Grand Prix.
Both Williams cars finished ahead of the two Red Bull's in each practice session on Friday, with Fernando Alonso and Mercedes the only quicker cars. However, when asked if he was surprised with Red Bull's pace compared to Williams in practice, Bottas replied: “I think we should not underestimate them.
“Sometimes they try some different things in practice and then they suddenly are on the pace in qualifying. We shouldn't underestimate them but I really think we are going to be fighting with Ferrari and Red Bull and it's going to be close, so everything we can find tonight to improve the car is going to be a big help.”
And Bottas said he had been encouraged by the handling of his car from the first lap in FP1 at the Red Bull Ring.
“Immediately the car felt quite good this time. There were no big balance issues. The tarmac here is quite slippery so like everyone we were sliding quite a lot but the initial feeling is OK. We can still improve the balance in some corners but it's not the easiest place to set up the car because there are a lot of different kinds of corners.
“For example in Turn 1 you face completely different problems with the car than Turn 3 because in Turn 3 the track really drops down. So it's not easy but we have to look at every single little detail tonight.”
Predicted a close race, Bottas said that would put even more emphasis on qualifying than usual as well.
“It's going to be very close here because it's a short track with not many corners. Especially qualifying is going to be really, really tight so we need to have a good lap.”