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Valtteri Bottas Q&A: Williams can profit from Hungarian heat

24 Jul 2015

Having slumped to a season-worst performance in Monaco, many were expecting Williams to struggle at the similarly tight and twisty Hungaroring. But after a typically low key Friday - in which he placed ninth in both practice sessions - Valtteri Bottas is quietly confident about his chances in Budapest - especially if the mercury continues to rise…

Q: Valtteri, how has your week been so far?
Valtteri Bottas:
Tough, obviously, like for everybody who knew Jules (Bianchi). He was my team mate in F3 so I knew him pretty well. In such a situation lap times lose much of their importance. But life goes on as well and for me right now the best place to be is in the car with my helmet on because then I have no other thoughts other than driving.

Q: What do expect from this weekend? Budapest is not the sort of track that Williams usually excel at...
VB:
True, in theory this is not the best track for us. But it is too early to say anything definite. Friday’s running is never that significant. The best is to look back at 2014: I qualified third and was running really well at the beginning of the race… It is still possible to have a good result here and as a team we should focus on the qualifying performance. Starting position has a big effect here as it is very difficult to overtake. The weekend could be slightly more challenging, but there is also a good chance of a good result!

Q: But if you compare this track to any other on the calendar, Monaco springs to mind - and there Williams suffered quite a lot. Have you learnt any lessons from the Monaco race for here?
VB:
Yes, we have analysed very well what happened to us in Monaco - so we will not repeat the same mistakes here. We have made some really good steps since Monaco, so I am not worried at all that it is going to be that bad. In fact I am pretty hopeful for the weekend.

Q: Will the hot conditions help?
VB:
Maybe. I think that if we were to choose either a hot or cold race we always would go for a hot race. The efficiency of the cooling of the car and getting the tyres to work is better in hot conditions.

Q: Could it hurt Mercedes if it is hot? Thinking back to Malaysia…
VB:
I have no idea what they done in between - you have to ask them.

Q: Coming back to Silverstone. You could have won the race and afterwards were slightly critical of the team and the way you weren’t allowed to attack Felipe (Massa) straight away…
VB:
I think I had the opportunity at the beginning when I was not allowed to overtake. Especially in the first stint my pace was really better, as we saw on Felipe’s in-lap when I gained almost one second. But the team thought that it was the best thing to do at that time to freeze the situation and for us not to battle for positions and lose time against Mercedes. Timing is sometimes critical for these things and when I got the call to race again I didn’t have the advantage any more. I simply missed the opportunity. Then it started to rain and I really struggled to get the tyres up to temperature - that was it for me. ‘Should have’, ‘could have’ - that doesn’t make a difference afterwards. Let’s put it this way: it was a weekend where we as a team again learned a lot! We will be cleverer now in the future.

Q: Were there serious discussions after Silverstone?
VB:
We learned a lot - let’s put it that way. We definitely will be better next time.

Q: What about your future. Can you tell us anything new in that regard?
VB:
No, nothing new to add to that discussion! There are lot of rumours…

Q: We’ve all had a chance for a first view of the 2016 calendar and it has 21 races on it. What do you make of that?
VB:
For me that is fine - I love to race. But it will be tough for the teams. And it will be a bit tricky to only have eight test days before the season starts to head into such a long and demanding season.