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Event finished

Bottas' belief not dented by Bahrain GP struggles

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Bottas' belief not dented by Bahrain GP struggles
By:
Apr 18, 2017, 8:58 AM

Valtteri Bottas insists that his belief in being able to do the job for Mercedes has been boosted rather than dented by his showing over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB13
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W08, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W08

The Finn bounced back from his spin in China to grab pole in Bahrain, but his hopes of a victory were dashed by wrong tyre pressures in the first stint and a mysterious lack of balance afterwards.

Although he also faced the prospect of having to move aside twice for teammate Lewis Hamilton, Bottas reckoned that the Sakhir weekend showed he was getting more on top of the Mercedes car – which gives him reason to feel can still challenge for the title.

When asked if he was leaving Bahrain more or less confident about his prospects, Bottas said: "I think more. This weekend was nice that I could perform a bit better in qualifying, so definitely from Australia, China, and here, I feel i can get more out of the car in qualifying.

"Even in the first race in Australia, and also in China when the car was working, the race pace has been good. So I know the race pace in there - this weekend also in qualifying. It is just the race here is a question mark.

"We still have 17 races to go. That is a lot. So I'm not thinking too far. I feel like it's still early days."

However, Bottas could not hide his disappointment at failing to capitalise on pole to deliver his first victory in F1.

Asked if just having the pole meant the weekend had been a success, he said: "I think it's not... losing two places from where you start.

"Waking up, the only thing in my mind was the win. As a team, at least, we should have won but we didn't. Ferrari did a better job.

"Also for me, leaving today here is a little bit strange feeling. I don't know why the pace is so poor. I know that gap that was there doesn't just come from driving.

"I'm sure we'll find out something why I struggled more than Lewis."

No answers

Bottas added that, despite a lengthy debrief on Sunday night to look at the details of the race, there was no clear answer as to why his pace was no match for Hamilton after his first stop.

"Stint one, we can explain the performance with the tyre pressures being just way too high," he said. "It was feeling like on marbles.

"Stint two and three, there is no explanation why the rear end wasn't working. The slow pace was definitely because of the balance and because of the rear end, so we have no answers yet what was causing it. For me, it wasn't normal.

"I was running out of all the tools with the diff and with the brake bias, trying to cure the oversteer and trying to improve the stability from the rear, but there was no way.

"When the tyres were new, they were okay, but very quickly when you rise up with the surface temperatures, it gets more and more tricky. A strange race for me missing so much pace. It's not so easy for me to explain."

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