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Bottas cautious of Red Bull threat despite table-topping pace

Bottas cautious of Red Bull threat despite table-topping pace

F1 News

Bottas cautious of Red Bull threat despite table-topping pace

Bottas cautious of Red Bull threat despite table-topping pace

Valtteri Bottas fears Red Bull still has pace in hand over Mercedes despite the Finn topping both Friday practice sessions at Imola.

Bottas set the early pace at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, pipping team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.010secs to set the fastest time of the opening day with an effort of one minute 15.551s.

A thorn in the side of Mercedes' dominance is the unknown pace of Max Verstappen and Red Bull after a driveshaft issue forced the Dutchman to retire from FP2 after only five laps.

“The midfield and the front end looks really close," said Bottas. "We definitely didn’t see the best out of Red Bull yet today.

"We are going to see that tomorrow in Q3 so no doubt they are going to be fast and we still don’t think we are the fastest car. We really need to prove that on Saturday."

After struggling to get on top of his Mercedes in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Bottas then tried so many simulation set-ups of Imola in order to unlock the pace of the W12 close to that of Hamilton he conceded to losing count.

Asked if the relentless changes were paying off, he replied: “To be honest, starting this weekend if I compare it to Bahrain how the car is feeling it is definitely feeling better so that is nice.

"But it is a different track and a different type of circuit, surface and grip level. But at least the weekend started in a positive way and the car wasn’t far off in terms of the set up.

“There are still things to be tuned but overall the balance, I’m a lot happier with the car now than I was three weeks ago.

“It feels better. It is still the same type of issues but less so. It is still not perfect but we are still only on event two out of 23 this season.

"Hopefully, we will have enough time to fix it, but at least we can feel we have made steps forward so that is good.”

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