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Valtteri Bottas Q&A: We will try everything to beat Ferrari

18 Apr 2015

Despite putting together a superb lap, Valtteri Bottas could do no better than fifth in qualifying as Williams continued to play second fiddle to Mercedes and Ferrari. But as the Finn explained on Saturday evening, he’s hopeful that some savvy tyre management and a decent strategy will help him fight them in the race…

Q: Valtteri, today you got closer to pole position than you have at any other race so far this season in terms of lap time, but despite that you are still only on row three of the grid. Did you expect that?

Valtteri Bottas: To be honest, from what we saw in the practice sessions we had hoped to be fighting for the second row of the grid. But Ferrari were quicker today. In Q3 I had a nice clean lap, my best lap of the weekend, but they are one step ahead of us - even a bit more. Of course we will try everything tomorrow in the race, but it will be difficult to gain position.

Q: Is there anything that you can to on the strategy side?

VB: What has been really good this weekend so far is that we’ve got the option tyres to work better in qualifying and in the long runs, so I think that we will be able to run the same strategy as the cars in front and that should hopefully bring us closer. Then let’s see if the pace is enough tomorrow to fight with them.

Q: How did Williams manage to get more out of the soft tyres?

VB: It is focusing on the temperatures. We are investigating much more on the temperatures to make sure we stay in the right window for each tyre. If you are in between you are wrong with both tyres.

Q: Niki Lauda predicted that Ferrari will not be able to keep their pace up over the race distance. What can that mean for you?

VB: What we saw from them on the long runs on Friday was that they looked very strong, so I can see no reason why they should not have the same pace in the race. Should Niki Lauda be right and they struggle, then of course we should come closer.

Q: Do you expect any pressure from behind?

VB: No, we do not really. Our main focus at the start of the race will be to build up a good gap to the cars behind so that we can run the strategy that is good for us in the race.

Q: If you say that you don’t expect pressure from behind and that there is quite a big gap to the cars in front - does that make your team mate Felipe Massa your biggest rival tomorrow?

VB: Of course! It could be a nice battle with him and of course I hope to finish ahead. But we need to keep in mind that we need the points for the team and not do anything silly.

Q: Do you have a code of conduct of how to behave in an intra-team battle? Do you talk about that in briefings?

VB: We spoke about it last year - and just before the season. We are allowed to race each other, but fairly.

Q: Most of the teams will bring updates for the first European race. What is waiting in the wings at Williams?

VB: Of course we will have updates on the car, but we will also look at how to use the different tyre compounds better. There is quite a bit in there. Aerodynamics is the main thing - and whatever we can do on the mechanical side we will try to improve as well. But there is still a long way to go to close the gap.

Q: How is your back?

VB: This is the first week that I feel nothing - and that is great. The new driving position that I have now is a huge step forward. It is much more comfortable. So I don’t expect this back issue to happen again.

Q: From what you have seen in the long runs on Friday and today in qualifying - where do you think you can eventually end up tomorrow?

VB: Us both? Fifth and Sixth? At this point it is where we are. It makes no sense in dreaming up a scenario that will not happen. Should something go wrong with either Mercedes or Ferrari we should be there!