Valtteri Bottas believes that Williams is making inroads into pacesetters Mercedes and Ferrari, having proved itself to be Formula 1’s third-quickest team.
Williams has been overtaken by Ferrari in the pecking order over the winter, and while the challenge from Red Bull has faltered, neither Bottas nor teammate Felipe Massa has managed to climb on to the podium in 2015.
Bottas showed his class in Bahrain, however, when he doggedly managed to hold off the delayed Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps to claim fourth place.
“It was a good battle in the end and I'm really pleased that we could get a few extra points by keeping him behind,” said the Finn. “I think we can see that we were a bit closer to them than in China. Obviously we still have a bit of work to do because if it would be a clean race for the top two teams we're clearly still third.
“We could work better with the option tyre, so the second stint was much more competitive than what we had in China. Even in the beginning it was not too bad, the Ferrari and Mercedes were not getting miles away. So progress, but we need more.”
Targeting extra speed in Barcelona
Despite the team’s performance chief Rob Smedley playing down expectations regarding the next race in Barcelona, Bottas was far more upbeat: “We do have some updates there, and obviously we have testing there as well.
“It didn't feel too bad for our car, and with getting updates for our car hopefully we can be a bit closer again to Ferrari and Mercedes. I think this race showed that we made a small step forward from China.”