Valtteri Bottas says the Mercedes Formula 1 team is expecting its latest aerodynamic upgrade package to provide a “pretty decent step” at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes has brought a minor aero update to Suzuka in a bid to put the pressure on a resurgent Ferrari as the German manufacturer looks to seal a sixth successive constructors’ crown in Japan.

Following the success of Ferrari’s Singapore aero upgrade and the Scuderia’s run of three wins in the past four races, Mercedes has made tweaks to its W10 challenger, including revisions to the sidepod area.

“We’re bringing a pretty solid update package this weekend,” Bottas explained.

“We’ll try it tomorrow and see how it works but in theory it should give us more performance.

“How much actually, that’s something we’ll find out but we have some rough numbers and it’s a pretty decent step in terms of upgrade packages so far. We shall see.”

Even with Mercedes’ first meaningful upgrade since the summer break, Bottas anticipates Ferrari to hold its current pace advantage at Suzuka, particularly in qualifying trim.

“It’s been a pretty good car this year but, again, it’s a track that requires some different things,” he said.

“It has some pretty decent straights, where we’ll definitely have a disadvantage compared to Ferrari, so they’re going to be gaining time there.

“But there are some good sections, full of corners, where we know we’re good at and hope that with the upgrade package we’ll be even better.

“It’s so tough to predict, so the only thing I can say is that in qualifying Ferrari will be very strong again but in the race we should have similar pace."

 

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