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.

Balance issues, and a particularly tricky rear end hampered both Hamilton and Bottas in Bahrain, leaving Mercedes convinced that finding a set-up sweet-spot can help it make big gains.

That is why Bottas spent a good portion of time after Bahrain working in the simulator at Mercedes' factory, with the Finn explaining during Thursday's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix press conference that the team now has“a good toolbox of what to choose from”.

“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.”

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.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hamilton acknowledged that Red Bull had “started off really, really well, with a great package”, but said the team's approach would not change now that it appeared to not be the fastest team. 

“Nothing changes for us, we approach the weekend exactly the same as we always have,” he said. 

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“I think we’ve had multiple battles with Ferrari, with Seb [Vettel] 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 concedes the team may not get into a position where it will be able to dominate races as it did in the past.

“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 you never know. 

“But I can't see anyone really dominating this year.”

shares
comments
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

Previous article

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

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 Lewis Hamilton , Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
How F1’s street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Plus

How F1’s street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Plus

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

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 Plus

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