Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes’ W12 is “definitely feeling better” at Imola compared to how it performed at Formula 1’s opening event in Bahrain.
Mercedes was beaten to pole position by Red Bull in Bahrain but turned the tables in race trim as Lewis Hamilton resisted Max Verstappen to claim victory.
Bottas, third in qualifying and the race in Bahrain, led the way through both of Friday’s practice sessions at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“Starting this weekend, if I compare it with Bahrain and how the car is feeling, it’s definitively better, so that’s nice,” he said.
“It’s a different kind of track, a different type of circuit and surface and grip level, but at least the weekend started in a positive way and the car really wasn’t far off in terms of set-up.
“There are still things to be tunned but, overall, the balance is good. I’m a lot happier with the car now than three weeks ago.”
Bottas added that the W12 was “still not perfect, but we’re only on event two out of 23 this season, so hopefully we’ll have enough time to fix it.
“At least we can really feel we’ve made steps forward so that’s good.”
Bottas’ quickest time – which was the fastest of the session once Charles Leclerc’s time for exceeding track limits was deleted – was set on the Medium tyres, as opposed to the Softs.
“It’s not a huge difference here with the compounds, so we’ll have to see what tyre we want to be qualifying on,” he said.
“I’m sure there is still more we need to try and get out of the Soft tyre, because, for sure, in qualifying everyone is going to use it.”