Valtteri Bottas Fastest On Day 2 Of Pre-Season Testing

Jarrod Partridge

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(Image courtesy Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

After a challenging opening day at pre-season testing, Mercedes-AMG Petronas have bounced back on day two, with Valtteri Bottas setting the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance managed 600km of running at the Bahrain International Circuit on day two of pre-season testing, with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas splitting driving duties, completing 116 laps between them.

Lewis Hamilton Spins In Morning Session

In blustery conditions Lewis Hamilton took to the track in the morning session, putting together a solid run of aerodynamic data collection and setup checks. Despite a brief pause after a spin at turn 13 where his car became beached in the gravel trap, Hamilton clocked up 58 laps for the day.

“It was OK, better than yesterday – not so much sand. The track doesn’t have a huge amount of grip and long runs aren’t the easiest but at least the sun was out! The balance was slightly improved compared to yesterday but we’re still working through certain things.

“For today the wind did a 180° shift so the track was very different, and you could push in certain places where you couldn’t yesterday. It was very gusty as I found out at turn 13 and the rear doesn’t feel particularly great with this new regulation change but we’re still trying to find the sweet spot.

“I’ve done 60-odd laps today and Valtteri missed a lot of track time yesterday so it’s not a lot compared to other tests we’ve had but we’re trying to be as effective as we can. We have less mileage than some of the others like Red Bull but we’re just trying to stick to our programme and manage the laps to try to be efficient. We’re just focusing on understanding the car, there’s no point in getting worried,” said Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas Fastest On Day 2

After a disappointing opening day that cost Valtteri Bottas most of his time in the car due to a gearbox issue, Bottas had a much happier time on day two, where he assumed driving responsibilities for the afternoon session, topping the classification charts with a lap of 1:30.289 while performing qualifying simulations on the C3, C4 and C5 tyre compounds.

“It was a lot better for me than yesterday, for sure. I finally managed to get some laps and some clean runs to really learn about the new car and try some things. It’s always good when you learn and that’s what testing is all about – the opportunity to run different things and see how the car reacts. As a driver you use that information in a race weekend so it’s hugely important. If the set-up changes work or don’t work, it’s all valuable information.

“For sure it’s windier here than we’ve had at a race but one of the bigger issues with the car is the rear end, it’s quite snappy and unforgiving. With the new tyres, it’s quite sensitive so we need to calm the car down a bit.

“(On topping the timing charts)… it’s so difficult to say what that means. I can’t be jumping around happy – it is only testing. As always, we are just focused on getting through our programme and maximising the learning. You never know what fuel loads people are running. Hopefully by the end of tomorrow, we will have a better idea of where we are.

“Testing is limited and a lot more compromised this year for everyone, you have less time in the car before the first race so I would be happy if we could just get through the final day tomorrow nice and clean. Today felt good and the times were pretty fast, so I just want more laps and more feeling with car,” said Bottas.

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