Despite experiencing many problems during pre-season testing, Valtteri Bottas believes “the car and the team” have the potential to win the 2021 F1 championship.
Several issues prevented Mercedes from taking full advantage of the three testing days of pre-season testing. First there was an unspecified gearbox problem that cut short Valtteri Bottas’ session on the first day of testing, then Lewis Hamilton spun and ended in the gravel trap on day 2, while on day 3 both Hamilton and Bottas struggled with the car again at certain points in the sessions.
Despite Mercedes not dominating testing, Valtteri Bottas is still convinced the team can be a serious contender for the 2021 title.
“I absolutely believe the car and the team, it has the potential [to take the title],” the Finn said after his session on the final day of testing.
“I don’t think it’s yet there as a package in terms of performance, but I’ve no doubt that we will work hard to find it somehow.
“I’m still not fully comfortable. We’ve been going forwards, I think, with the set-up of the car and understanding of the car, and getting it to behave better, but still there is more work to do, and from these busy few days, there’s lots of data that hopefully can help us to make the car faster when we race here.”
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However, Bottas admits this was the worst start to a season since he joined the team in 2017.
“With this team, it’s definitely been the most challenging start to the season in terms of testing, and now time is even more limited nowadays. So definitely not ideal.
“But… at least I feel that the recovery has been pretty good in the last couple of days. I feel ready. I felt like I had enough time in the car.
“I feel with the short runs, the long runs, really comfortable with everything and confident, so from my side, I’m ready, and as a team, we will be ready, no doubt.
“As ready as anyone else and hopefully even better,” concluded Bottas.