Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas feel their Williams team is in better shape heading into this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix than they were a week ago in Malaysia, despite the Grove-based outfit opting to limit their running in practice at the Sakhir circuit.
The two drivers ran a total of just 33 laps over the two sessions at the 5.412 kilometer track on the outskirts of Bahrain’s capital Manama, as the team made a conscious decision to limit running after having racked up a significant amount of mileage over the two pre-season tests in the island kingdom.
“For me quite a short day, but it is what it is,” Bottas, who managed just nine laps in total and set the eleventh quickest time as a result of having to hand his car over to the team’s reserve Felipe Nasr in the first one-and-a-half hour session, said after practice.
“We’ve got so much data from the tests and actually temperatures were quite similar in the evening time here so we didn’t really see the point to just put mileage for nothing.”
While Mercedes topped the overall mileage charts during pre-season testing, Williams had in fact racked up the most amount of running over the course of the two pre-season tests at Sakhir.
As a result, with track conditions during Friday practice also similar to those experienced during testing, the team felt there was little they could gain by running more number of laps.
“We are quite confident… the car is already pretty much there, it’s just really fine-tuning,” Bottas, who believes Williams should be able to fight among the top six in tomorrow’s qualifying session, said.
His team-mate Massa, also ran just 24 laps over the two sessions and ended the day fifth fastest. Nevertheless, the Brazilian feels he has a good understanding of where his car is.
“Definitely, the car shows a little bit better pace here compared to the last race, not Australia, but the last race,” the former Ferrari driver, said. “So I hope this can be also our direction, I hope this is something that we can see tomorrow as well.”
Images courtesy Williams Martini Racing