Valtteri Bottas believes his storming qualifying performance at Imola last year has helped him to unlock pace from his Mercedes in the early phases of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend.
Bottas qualified on pole when Formula 1 returned to Imola for the first time since 2006 and the Finn was immediately on the pace again this weekend, topping both of the Friday practice sessions before falling to eighth in the Saturday morning session.
Before a virtual safety car period last year, Bottas had been in contention for the race victory although his efforts were further hampered by damage to his floor.
Asked if his previous performance at the venue made it easier to enter the weekend, Bottas said: "It makes a difference.
"But then once you start the weekend then you kind of got to go with it and make the most of any case."
He added: "If you are in a place that you have had previous success, it gives you confidence and a good feeling. As always, we start from zero, it is a new year and a new race."
Despite Lewis Hamilton taking victory in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes is still attempting to get on top of the aerodynamic changes made over the winter and maintains it remains behind Red Bull.
With Bottas eager to unlock the potential of the W12, he confirmed he was able to return to England after the Bahrain race to complete running in the team's simulator despite the ongoing difficulties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: "I actually went to Brackley between the races to work in the simulator, to work on the set-up and try to find answers and help the team as much as I can really to unlock the performance.
"I lost count of how many set-up items we tried in the simulator but at least coming here I think we have a big box to choose from.
"But it is not like a couple of years ago where you could go all the time and a few days in a row etcetera. Within the restrictions, within the situation, we are trying to make the most out of it.
"Same for the team. They are really restricted on the development time so efficiency is really the key. I am very keen to see what this year will bring to us and how we will end up."
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