Valtteri Bottas is pleased that the last two days of testing have managed to drive a good chunk of laps after losing the first part of the first day due to transmission problems, but believes the main problem with the new Mercedes is a nervous rear end.
Mercedes was the fastest and most stable car last season, and this was confirmed by George Russell, who switched from Williams to Mercedes in Bahrain and felt a big difference in traction despite having the same power unit.
Due to the change in the rules, the teams lost a lot of downforce at the rear end, which they tried to make up for during the winter, and it seems that Mercedes has not yet found the ideal solution, unlike Red Bull, which looks much more stable.
Hamilton spun several times and once got stuck in a sand trap near the Turn 13 and in preparation for a quick lap on C5 tyres he spun in the last corner.
“It’s a bit more windy conditions than we’ve had normally at the race,” said Bottas.
“But still, I would say one of the big issues with the car is the rear end, it’s quite snappy and it’s quite unforgiving.”
“That topped up with the new tyres, that they feel quite sensitive to the sliding, it’s not that easy.”
“We are kind of trying to calm the car down a bit and that way trying to get some more pace.”
“Day one was compromised for me so I’m pleased the past two days have been efficient and clean. Today, like yesterday, we had plenty of laps and ran good quality tests. I’m still not entirely comfortable but we’ve been moving forward and getting better.”
“There’s still more work to do; we’ve collected lots of data over these past few days which we will analyse to help us make the car faster ahead of the first race.”
“Time is even more limited now with the recent changes but our recovery from the first day has been very good. I absolutely believe that the car and team has the potential to fight for the title.”
“I don’t think the package is quite there yet in terms of performance but I have no doubt it will be. I feel like I’ve had enough time in the car, performing short runs and long runs, and I really feel comfortable and confident. From my side I’m ready and as a team, we will be ready.”