Valtteri Bottas surprised by his own pace during Friday practice sessions
|By Edd Straw and Matt Beer||Thursday, August 16th 2012, 10:49 GMT|
Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas says he has surprised himself with his performances in Friday practice so far this year.
The reigning GP3 champion has regularly been a match for the team's race driver - and Spanish Grand Prix winner - Pastor Maldonado.
"I'm happy with how I've improved. I think I'm still improving all the time, in every session," said Bottas, when asked by AUTOSPORT how he would rate his season so far.
"With my goals before the start of the season, I maybe didn't expect to be on the pace so quickly, because the first couple of Fridays already went really well. But I'm still learning more and more, so I'm happy with how it's been going."
While pleased to compare so favourably to Maldonado at this stage, Bottas feels he can still improve a lot more.
"It's nice to see that I can match him and sometimes be quicker, and still I feel there's much more to come if I get to drive more," he said. "It's nice to see the speed is there, but there is still so much more I have to learn, like the race distance."
The Finn added that while he would prefer to be racing, he had managed to adjust his mindset and make the most of his 2012 opportunity. Bottas is driving Bruno Senna's car in the majority of Friday morning practice sessions at grands prix.
"Of course it's not easy for me as I've raced basically all my life, starting at five or six years old," he said. "For sure I would like to race, but for now that's how things are. Now is time to learn."