Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas admitted that his rally-style drifting at the Sochi Autodrom isn’t likely to pay dividends.
The Finn has always enjoyed the Sochi Autodrom, winning his first Formula 1 race here in 2017 while he likely would have won the 2018 Russian Grand Prix if it weren’t for the interference of the team orders.
And it’s safe to say that Bottas heads into the 2020 Russian Grand Prix in desperate need of victory now that he is 55 points behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.
And he started off in style by topping both Friday practice sessions, feeling there is also more to come pace wise.
“Yeah for sure, the first session was pretty interrupted to be honest with the red flags and everything so it was quite limited running actually,” he told reporters at the Sochi Autodrom when asked if he could up his game further.
“I had a big lock-up also which destroyed one tyre set in second practice, we got a lot of running but didn’t quite get all the sectors right in my fastest lap so there’s still definitely more to come.
“It was actually quite tricky conditions today and that’s why there were so many people making mistakes.
“For the moment everything seems pretty strong, as I said there is still a lot of time on the table.
“Also setup-wise Sector 1 and Sector 2 feels really good actually, but Sector 3 the car is still a bit too nervous and if we can get it right I’m sure there is lap time.”
Wrapping up Friday at the @SochiAutodrom with P1 for VB in #FP2, just ahead of Lewis! 💪
Lots of learnings to delve into this evening 🤓 pic.twitter.com/yKGMbAmtDD
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) September 25, 2020
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Bottas took more of a rallying approach at times through the final corner of Sochi with a fair bit of drifting.
But while it looked extremely cool, Bottas isn’t sure it did him many favours in terms of performance.
“It seemed like especially on the low-fuel runs I was always struggling quite a bit with the rear-end,” he explained.
“So something to look at there, it was more like a rally driving style than the F1 driving style, I’m not sure it was the best way around.”
Bottas’ team-mate Hamilton finished FP2 0.267s down on the Finn after also struggling with lock-ups throughout the day.
The Briton comes into the Russian Grand Prix in search of victory number seven of the season, while Bottas hasn’t visited the top step of the podium since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
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