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Valtteri Bottas Q&A: Williams in good shape to take on Ferrari

13 Nov 2015

In contrast to last year, Ferrari have had the edge over Williams throughout the 2015 season. But while the Scuderia might be guaranteed second in the constructors’ championship, the fight is still raging in the drivers’ standings, with Valtteri Bottas moving ahead of Kimi Raikkonen after the pair’s clash in Mexico. The Williams driver isn’t dwelling on that collision however - his focus is firmly on capitalising on the team’s promising start at Interlagos...

Q: Valtteri, Mexico gave you a second podium of the season. Was there a sense of 'wow, only the second'? Or was there a different outlook once you were stood on the rostrum?

Valtteri Bottas: Yes, it would have been nice to score more podiums this season - and yes, the Mexico podium was incredible. That crowd; the podium between two grandstands; the sombrero - that was quite a treat, even though I wouldn't say that I have a typical hat face! (laughs) A podium finish is always special, but I am still running after the 'big one'. In the end a fifth or sixth position is also something to fight for. Some might not see it that way, but that is how I see that it's the right way to go.

Q: Were you surprised by Mercedes' pace? You came in almost 15 seconds after Nico and Lewis...

VB: This gap has been the reality the whole season. That's how it is at the moment. Yes, we have made some improvements but still the gap is there - and it is bigger than we would like. That's how it is; we need to do a better job this winter.

Q: How do you cope with the situation that more or less at every race the first two positions are taken by one team? How does the sportsman within you see this?

VB: That's Formula One. Most of the time you are not in the team that can win the title. But one day it can be that in a team like that. As a driver all you can do is to improve yourself and make your way up to a winning team. In many ways you could say that it has always been that way in F1 - so as a driver you have to seize your chances.

Q: What do you expect then from this weekend? In Mexico Ferrari shot themselves in the foot, helping you finish on the podium. What about here?

VB: Good question! They have been quicker than us - especially in the races - so the goal can only be to get as many points as possible against them. That will not change anything in the constructors' championship - it is more about getting a bit of a feel good situation by knowing that you can beat them.

Q: From what you see has the Ferrari engine come dangerously close to the Mercedes engine?

VB: I think they have been able to come closer - but my belief is still that the Mercedes engine is the best on the grid. But yes, Ferrari is not far off.

Q: Would you say that the Ferrari engine is better than your Mercedes engine?

VB: I think that there is still a gap also between our engine and the Ferrari engine as I think we are not far off the Mercedes team.

Q: Have you been speaking with your countryman Kimi (Raikkonen) lately?

VB: No, I have not. Why? This is racing. Sometimes you hit and other times you don't - and this time we did. It is just unlucky that it was me and him again! In the end I think we both didn't want to give up. Normally there should be enough space for two cars in that passage of the track. It was not. It didn't cost me anything so I haven't wasted thoughts on it.

Q: But now you are three points ahead of him in the driver standings: you in fourth, and Kimi in fifth...

VB: I would be happy to finish in front of a car that is quicker than mine. That would do the trick for me. And if both of our cars could get in front - that would even be better for us as a team. Felipe (Massa) is only six points behind Kimi.

Q: To achieve that, both you and Felipe must deliver a good race here. What have you learned today that could offer encouragement?

VB: When looking back to last year, we were the second quickest team here as I remember - even if it didn't work for me, and only for Felipe. So I think we should do pretty well on Sunday. This is a much better track for us than tracks like Monaco and Budapest. And the running in both sessions today supports that belief. I think we have done good mileage today to run all the programmes that were on our shortlist. The long runs were promising and the tyres - one of our main topics today - worked pretty well. So yes, looking forward to a strong Saturday and Sunday.