Valtteri Bottas is eager to tackle the first night race of his career, having never driven around Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit. However, he doesn’t think it will take him long to learn the layout.
The rookie has yet to score a point so far this season as Williams continue to struggle for pace with their FW35. Despite the disappointing season so far, Bottas is looking forward to the fresh challenge that Singapore will bring. Speaking in a team statement he said: “I’ve never driven at Singapore in a lower category and it was one of the tracks that I didn’t drive in Friday practice last year for Williams so this will be a new challenge that I’m really looking forward too.”
He added: “I will be doing a lot of simulator work ahead of the Grand Prix to get used to the layout because it has a lot of corners that come in quick succession. I’m normally quite fast at learning new tracks though and showed in Montreal this year that I can quickly get up to speed. The fact that the race takes places at night creates a unique atmosphere but I will try and keep my routine the same as it is important to maintain a rhythm between races, and for that reason I will be staying on European time throughout the week.”
Team-mate Pastor Maldonado thinks tyre management will be crucial this weekend. Discussing the race ahead he said: “Singapore is quite unusual for a street race because it’s hot and humid with high speeds, heavy braking areas and lots of corners, all of which test the tyres in terms of traction and braking because it’s a long race and the cars carry a very heavy fuel load.
“That puts a lot of energy through the tyres at the start of the race, so it’s vital to manage the first stint well. Tyre strategy is always a key ingredient so I will be spending a lot of time with the engineers discussing how we are going to tackle this track.”
He feels that the track suits his style, so is confident for a stronger showing this weekend: “As difficult as the track is, managing the conditions is another element that drivers have to deal with over the weekend as it gets very hot inside the cockpit. I had a very strong qualifying here last year, finishing in 2nd place, so I feel like this layout suits my eye and I know how to squeeze every tenth out of the lap time.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic