Bottas "lost count" of set-up changes made in pre-Imola sim test

Valtteri Bottas says he “lost count” of the number of set-up items he worked through during a recent simulator session to better understand Mercedes’ tricky new Formula 1 car.

Bottas "lost count" of set-up changes made in pre-Imola sim test

Despite Lewis Hamilton's victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes thinks it is behind rival Red Bull in pace terms, and knows it needs to make improvements to its W12 in order to continue its unbeaten run of titles in the turbo hybrid era.

With the new car having suffered from balance issues, and a particularly tricky rear end, the outfit is convinced that finding a good setup can help it make big gains.

That is why Bottas spent a good portion of time after the Bahrain Grand Prix working in the simulator at the Mercedes factory to try to deliver what is needed.

“I actually went between the races to Brackley, to the simulator, and tried to work on the set-up, trying to find answers and trying to help the team as much as I can really to unlock the performance,” he said.

“I lost count on how many setup items we tried in the simulator. But at least coming here, I think we have good toolbox of what to choose from.”

Read Also:

Bottas says that Mercedes’ data suggests Red Bull’s main advantage right now is in high speed corners, while things are much closer in other areas of the track.

“It seems to be that Red Bull at the moment, in higher speed corners, they are quite strong,” he explained. “Otherwise it's really marginal differences here and there.

“But Bahrain is its own type of circuit, and we'll see here, for example. The tarmac in Bahrain is really rough and low grip. 

“Here it is much more grippy and less prone to the tyre overheating on this track, so we'll see how it is.”

Hamilton said that despite his win over Max Verstappen in Bahrain, things looked incredibly close between his outfit and Red Bull.

“I think it’s clear that Red Bull have started off really, really well, with a great package, and Max was driving really well,” he said.

“So it’s set up for a good season ahead. Of course we don’t know what to expect moving forward into these next races with the different temperatures and different track surfaces, but it’s going to be fun one way or another.”

Asked if Mercedes' approach changed now that it appeared to not be the fastest team, Hamilton said: “Nothing changes for us. We approach the weekend exactly the same as we always have. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“I think we’ve had multiple battles with Ferrari, with Seb when he was at Ferrari. I think we’ve just got to keep our heads down and continue to do what we do.

“We love the challenge, and as I said, it’s exciting for all of us that we do have such a challenge on our hands. It’s not one that we shy away from.”

Although Mercedes believes it has everything to play for against Red Bull, Bottas thinks the team will not get into a position where it will be able to dominate races.

“I think dominating a grand prix this year could be difficult, seeing the starting point, but you never know,” he said.

“But as I said earlier, we've only seen the cars on one track, and we've seen quite a big swing in performance track to track. So, yeah, you never know. But I can't see anyone really dominating this year.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ricciardo apologises for F1 'idiots' comment, stands by opinion

Previous article

Ricciardo apologises for F1 'idiots' comment, stands by opinion

Next article

Canadian GP set to be cancelled as Turkey stands by

Canadian GP set to be cancelled as Turkey stands by
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Emilia Romagna GP
Drivers Valtteri Bottas , Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021