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Bottas: Williams not expecting major step forward in Bahrain

01 Apr 2016

Williams’ Valtteri Bottas has conceded that Williams are unlikely to close in on frontrunners Mercedes and Ferrari at this weekend’s 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

It follows an underwhelming season opener for the team in Australia, where Bottas finished eighth to team mate Felipe Massa’s fifth, with both men trailing Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

“The track here in Bahrain is rather a normal track, and for us it will be very interesting to see where we really stand,” said the Finn. “For us primarily we have to focus on further developing the car if we want to fight for podiums.

“I still see some weaknesses of our car in the slow-speed corners, although it is a bit better than it was last year. Fact is that everyone is improving and everyone is going forward and there are some teams that have made bigger jumps than we did.”

Bottas revealed that Williams have brought some new parts to Sakhir, but was circumspect when predicting what gains they may bring - if indeed he even gets to sample them.

“We are bringing a new floor and some other minor improvements, but we will most likely not bring any major step forward to this race here,” he commented. “We are working on a new nose, and I am not sure if we will make it for this race.

“If so, if we will get both cars updated. But since Felipe is ahead with the points, it might be that he will get any of the updates that are only available for one of the cars.”

Williams finished a comfortable third in last year’s constructor standings. However, based on the team’s 2016 form to date, they seem to have fallen back into the clutches of their upper-midfield rivals.

“Of course I hoped that we would have been much closer to Mercedes and Ferrari, and to see that Red Bull and Toro Rosso are that strong was a bit surprising to be fair,” Bottas said. “This for sure is the reason why we need to make quite a few steps forward very soon.

“We have not found any big problems so far, and compared to last year we have for sure made some progress in the right direction, especially on the weak points of our car. Obviously some other teams made bigger progress on their cars and weaknesses than we did.

“So every step forward for us will be very important, as it is so very close with Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Let’s see how it works for us here in Bahrain.”

Bottas finished fourth in Bahrain last year, with Massa tenth.