Bottas laments broken floor after mistakes lay Sakhir practice to "waste"
Valterri Bottas was left ruing a mistake in free practice one that damaged his Mercedes car and left him on the back foot after a tricky Friday ahead of this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Bottas had to scrap much of first practice after running over kerbs and breaking the floor of his car but managed to go fastest in second practice, only for his lap to be ruled out because he exceeded track limits at turn eight.
On a day where new team-mate George Russell hit the headlines by topping the times in both sessions in place of Covid-suffering Lewis Hamilton, the perhaps unrepresentative times set left Bottas with plenty to defend.
“For me, it was quite a tricky day,” said Bottas. “In the first session I broke the floor of the car, I went over the kerbs in turn eight and there was a piece missing so the rest of FP1 was a bit of a waste.
“Then in practice two, it felt quite ok. I didn’t get any laps on the [faster] soft tyre, I had one half-decent lap but that got deleted because I went over the track limits, so not really the best day but at least the long runs were pretty consistent.”
Asked about Russell’s performance, he added: “It’s been good. It’s been only one day, but it’s been good. He has been giving good feedback on the car and obviously, if you look at the times he looks quick.”
Bottas conceded Red Bull also “looked pretty quick” in the session but warned of a frantic time ahead when all 20 cars are fighting for places on the short track in qualifying.
The wasted practice time could prove costly as it leaves Bottas little time to get to grips with the new section of track that bypasses the usual Grand Prix layout between turn four and what is usually turn 13 - a section that has already proved challenging to get right.
“It’s a really technical section, with the bumps and everything, it’s actually quite tricky,” added Bottas. “I learned it the hard way in the first run of the day. It is quite harsh.
“It is easy to lose a tenth just like that and with a short track, in qualifying that can make a difference. Still, quite a bit of work to do on my side to get it all together, but it’s not bad.
“It’s going to be really important to get good clean laps [in qualifying] and I think FP2 was a great example of how messy it can be at the end.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.