After a torrid weekend in Azerbaijan, Bottas returned to form in France as he headed Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in each of the three practice sessions.

The Finn wasn’t able to maintain his superiority over his teammate in qualifying, with Bottas set to start a place behind Hamilton in third.

Reflecting on his performance in qualifying, Bottas said: “I think the weekend started in a pretty good place and we’ve been tuning it from there and at no point during the weekend we had to make any huge changes, so it has been basically fine-tuning it.

“For qualifying I still struggled a bit with the balance in the first two corners, but this is a track where the wind always makes it tricky in a couple of corners. I was really happy with the car, so I’m actually quite disappointed to be third because it has been, otherwise, a strong weekend and I really thought we could fight for the pole but Red Bull and Max just had a bit of a upper hand at the end of qualifying.”

Bottas is confident he can take the fight to Verstappen despite not winning in F1 since the Russian Grand Prix last year.

“It’s obviously a lot better than in Baku, so far,” Bottas added. “It’s been a strong weekend, it’s just that in Q3, the last lap I felt was good, so I’m keen to see where I missed the time against Lewis but the race is tomorrow, so I’m sure we can fight for the win and I look forward to that.”

A big topic of discussion has been Mercedes’ decision to swap chassis between its drivers.

Bottas felt there was “not much difference” between the chassis he is using for this weekend compared to the one he used in Baku.

“Yes, it’s completely the same, if the chassis number would be the same in both cars, we wouldn’t know the difference,” Bottas explained.  “But, of course, how the car handles, in theory it should be the same. I guess we’ll never know and I think it’s mainly in the head, you think sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s not, but there’s not much difference.”