Valtteri Bottas believes Mercedes will come under threat from Formula 1 rivals Ferrari and Red Bull after the reigning world champions topped Friday practice at the Spanish Grand Prix. 

Bottas set the pace in FP1 with a time that would not be beaten during the opening day of track action at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, as he finished first practice 0.8s clear of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton moved to the top of the timesheets in FP2 but the gap to Mercedes’ rivals shrunk, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo just 0.133s behind. The world championship leader felt Ferrari was "sandbagging" on Friday and Bottas agreed with his teammate. 

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“I think Red Bull has showed the pace they have so it will be, again, a three-way battle,” Bottas told reporters. 

“It was a good start to the weekend but, as always, things can really change from Friday to Saturday, we know that Ferrari is still going to be there tomorrow and Red Bull also looked good today.”

Bottas admitted Mercedes took the wrong direction in terms of set-up as he dropped to fifth in the timesheets, but the Finn is confident with the package at his disposal heading into qualifying.

“I think it was a good day, overall. Especially in FP1 the car felt really good, we then did some changes for FP2 that actually didn’t improve the car, so by the end we reverted to the settings we had in FP1 and it felt OK.

“I think we have a very good baseline to work from tomorrow and I’m really pleased with the car, so let’s see.”

 

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