Valtteri Bottas admits he was “struggling a little bit” to find the ideal set-up with his Mercedes W08 at the Interlagos circuit despite ending Friday practice second fastest behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton while he also switched focus towards next season.

The Finnish driver closed to 15 points off of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the battle for second place in the Formula 1 drivers’ world championship last time out in Mexico as he aims to make it a perfect season with a Mercedes 1-2 after Hamilton sealed the title last month.

Bottas duly delivered in Friday practice by ending both sessions second fastest just off of the newly-crowned F1 world champion even though he spent the majority of FP1 running aero tests to acquire vital data for its 2018 preparations.

Despite the split focus Bottas was pleased with progress on his car ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix but is still searching for the perfect set-up at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

“We were a little bit struggling to get the set-up right for each corner of the circuit, however, I was really enjoying this track and I'm looking forward to the weekend,” Bottas said.

“I think it was a positive day for us. Initially in Practice 1 we did some aero tests, looking at some things we can improve for next year. We now have some data to analyse from that.

“Otherwise, I think both the short runs and the long runs in both sessions looked positive for us as a team, so we have a good starting point for the weekend.”


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