Valtteri Bottas Flying On Day 1 In Russia

2021 Russian Grand Prix, Friday - Valtteri Bottas (image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

It was a strong Friday showing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton went quickest on practice day in Sochi.

Bottas set the pace in both practice sessions, going fastest overall in FP1 and FP2, while Hamilton was just behind his teammate on the timesheets with both drivers exploring a range of set-up options ahead of Qualifying tomorrow which is expected to be wet.

Valtteri Bottas

‘If you look at the timings and based on my own feeling in the car, it was a good day. From the first run, I had confidence in the car and the balance was very good so I could focus on my driving, looking for small gains. Tomorrow looks like it will be wet, so it’ll be a completely different experience. The main thing is the car feels good on the long runs so that’s encouraging for Sunday which should be dry. I really find my flow on this track and I enjoy it – when the car works well here, it’s great fun to drive.’

Lewis Hamilton

‘We had two good sessions today pace-wise. We ticked off as much as we could working through different setup items and had very clean runs with no issues so overall it was a good day. Valtteri and I went quite different with our setups to see which areas work best and we’ll spend tonight studying the data to understand where we want the car for tomorrow and Sunday. It looks like it will be a lot of rain tomorrow, a big wet day, and we’ll have to consider our setup with that in mind but keeping an eye on Sunday which is set to be dry.’

Andrew Shovlin

‘We had a pretty good balance to start with today and were able to put in decent times on all tyre compounds. We’ve often struggled on the Soft tyre this year but today it seemed to work well. Our long run performance was OK, but we’ve not got the balance quite right so there’s a bit of work to do there overnight. The forecast looks very wet for tomorrow, especially in the morning but we’re expecting dry conditions for the race. That’s going to give us an interesting compromise to deal with, finding a setup that works well in a wet qualifying but also has good long run pace in the dry. Overall though a reasonable start to the weekend.’

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