Valtteri Bottas admits it will take a significant step forward from Williams in the coming races for it to recover fourth position in the constructors' standings from the in-form Force India.
Ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, Williams arrives in Monza trailing its rivals after a fourth and fifth place finish from Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez propelled Force India to a new peak in the standings.
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Coming after a summer stint in which Force India has shone with its updated VJM09, the Silverstone-based outfit has accumulated 89 of its 103 points since the Monaco Grand Prix. By contrast, Williams has scored 36 points in the same period.
Indeed, while Bottas feels the FW38 package hasn't been maximised to its full potential – particularly when it comes to tyre management -, he admits it will take a step from the team for it to halt Force India's momentum.
“I think they have move forward for the whole European season, while we've been unable to make as many steps forward as they have. In terms of strategy, in some races, they have been better than us. Spa turned out better for them but our race, with different strategies with the Safety Car and red flag would have been a lot better than it was. The race pace was very strong, our car is good on Sundays, but we struggled to keep up a bit with them at the moment. I think it's going to be a good fight.
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“I think we need to find something. They have been, in the last three races, slightly quicker than us. It's not much, depending on the tracks, but their tyre management has been a bit better and that has been the main difference, at the end of the stints. I think we need to find something.
Despite the dip in results, Bottas still feels the car has improved since the beginning of the season and is confident there are good gains yet to be made.
“I think we're getting better all the time, we don't real have a clear answer. In the end it could be that the differences are in the way the cars work the tyre and some things you cannot change. But for sure we can get better with that, but if that will be enough this year, we'll find out.”
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