Valtteri Bottas says Monaco no longer feels “impossible to drive” after a strong day of practice running for Mercedes.

The reigning world champion squad dominated Thursday’s track action around the streets of Monte Carlo as Lewis Hamilton topped both sessions, with Bottas ending up just 0.081s behind in FP2.

Monaco had been something of a bogey track for Mercedes in recent years but Hamilton and Bottas finished over seven tenths clear of nearest rivals Ferrari.

“I think it was a good day for us on track,” Bottas said.

“There have been years in here where the car felt nearly impossible to drive but now it was actually driveable and enjoyable, so we’ve just got to fine-tune the set-up.

“I think we started the weekend with the right foot, that’s the feeling, but obviously this is Monaco and anything can happen. So far, so good.”

Bottas is yet to step on the Monte Carlo podium after Mercedes’ recent struggles at the circuit, but he finally feels confident in the car he has beneath him.

“It does feel good - it feels quite solid,” he explained. “In recent years when we went soft with the car it became a bit lazy, but today it was responsive and nice.

“But we just need to make sure that whatever changes we make it will keep going in the right direction.”

The Finn had a couple of close shaves with the Monaco barriers but said it is key to find the limit during practice.

“It was close,” Bottas added. “You need to find the limit but, luckily, there was no damage today and it was fun. I felt comfortable pushing the limits and that’s always a good feeling.”


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