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F1 NEWS 

Valtteri Bottas encouraged by laptimes during first day of testing in Abu Dhabi

Valtteri BottasValtteri Bottas was happy with his laptimes during his first day of testing for Williams despite losing track time in the afternoon with a gearbox problem.

The Finn ended the day seventh fastest after improving his best time in the closing stages of running, but emphasised that the objective for this test is not simply to set the best fastest lap.

"I'm really happy for a first day," he said when asked by AUTOSPORT whether he was satisfied with his performance.

"It was my first time on a proper track, so I'm happy that my times weren't bad.

"We had a new set of options tyres on for the last run, but we were still not going with the lightest possible fuel load. The goal for this test is not to put on the super soft tyre and go for the best lap, we are trying to get everything out of the track time."

Bottas has driven for Williams during five straightline tests during the past two years but has no experience on a proper track of the FW33.

Despite that, the GP3 champion was pleased with how quickly he adapted to the car during what could be a key test for his career given that he is an outside contender for a race seat in 2012.

"Obviously, it took a few laps at first and in the beginning we had some aero tests to do so we weren't going for full laps - it was just an installation and then to the box again," he said. "But I was happy with the consistency immediately.

"The downforce and G-force that you get were a different level to anything else, so that was a bit of a surprise but once you get used to it, it's no problem.

"Once we started running properly, it took one run and six or seven laps [to get completely comfortable] and it was quite good. I got to one level, but the hard work is to find the last tenths."

Bottas is hoping for a busy day of action tomorrow on his final day in the car before he heads to compete in the Macau Grand Prix.

The team has a large number of development parts to assess, including the 2012 specification exhaust that it tried today. But a gearbox change conducted in the middle of the day ensures that the same problems should not strike again.

"I'm sure it will be busy and let's hope for a trouble free test day," he said.

"There was a gearbox problem today, but the team is investigating it. There are no more details at the moment."

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