Valtteri Bottas reported another productive day for the Williams team as he completed a further 61 laps in the new FW37 at Jerez, adding that he feels there is more to come from the latest Mercedes engine.
The Finn, who was back in the cockpit for a second day after giving the new car its debut on Sunday, reported a trouble-free outing interrupted only by Mother Nature, as he posted the third-fastest time of the session.
Moreover, Williams managed to squeeze in a programme its late start to day one had forced it to abandon, gathering vital information for those working behind the scenes back at Grove.
“[The day was] a little bit different because in the morning, when it was really cold, we decided to do the aero test we were planning to do yesterday morning, so that went into the plans and we started just after nine o'clock,” Bottas reported, “The whole day went without problems again and we were able to do the whole plan except one run, which was cut short by the rain.
“We are learning more about the car, and went through a lot of new aero bits so we got a lot of good data. We did some longer runs in the afternoon, then some shorter ones, just trying different set-up things, seeing how the car is reacting.
“We are learning more all the time - there were a lot of rakes in the car at some points today and I think they are still looking at all the data. All those things are important for the guys at the aero department but, from my side, it was much the same as yesterday. The car feels consistent aerodynamically and an improvement from last year, but we are expecting everyone to improve so we need to do the same.”
Asked whether he felt a difference in the revised Mercedes engine, the Finn admitted that it was too soon in the programme to be able to make that sort of judgement, but echoed the same optimism he has for the car as a whole.
“We are still working on engine mapping, trail maps, these sort of things, so, at the moment, we are definitely not taking everything out of the engine, but it doesn't feel too much different to last year,” he explained, “We're now getting better and better, but we know that, when it's time to get more out of it, there is potential. I'm completely confident with what Mercedes has done with the engines, and it should be good from that side.”
Even though Williams decided not to run on the wet track, Bottas was satisfied that the team was already on top of the handling issues that plagued it in similar conditions early last season.
“I think we got on top of the things pretty well, managing the wet tyres and intermediate tyres, so we should be better with that,” he confirmed, “In the end, downforce helps quite a lot in the wet, so we are working on it.
“It may be a more well-rounded car, but the base car is not that different and doesn't feel that different, so I think we should still be pretty good in a straight line. Of course, we need to make some sacrifices to gain in the corners, but I think that should be the trend of our car this season as well, that it is quite slick.”