Easy going, cheerful and self-confident. Satisfied Valtteri Bottas sat in the Mercedes depot premises yesterday. Above was the new shiny silver jacket from Mercedes.
- A little new. This reminds me a bit of McLaren's old outfits, Bottas smiled at the start of the interview with Ilta-Sanomat.
However, the reason for the cheer was not in the new coat. Bottas, 30, is in good shape overall and the first test day of the season with the new silver arrow was excellent.
- We did what was intended. The basic profile of the car is good. It does nothing strange, but goes where it says. There's still something to do with the behavior, but especially with the quick bends, it felt like there's quite a bit more grip than last year. The back is much more stable, Bottas said.
Halfway through the day, Bottas and Lewis Hamilton topped the lap list at the end of the day. Six times world champion Hamilton was faster - as so often in recent seasons.
How do we break Hamilton's power? What has Bottas, last year's runner-up, done differently this winter than in previous years?
- People are allowed to deduce what they are concluding, Bottas lines and smiles.
- As for driving, I can tell you that we have worked with engineers a lot on my driving style. I've spent a lot of time in the simulator.
Valtteri Bottas likes his new tool.
Photo: Hoch Zwei / ZUMA
Mercedes has recently completed a new, more robust simulator that Bottas has been working on. A new driving style has been sought for specific locations in the toolbox. It has required striking things, so that different driving comes from the spinal cord.
- Mostly it's slow bends. These are things you don't necessarily expect to do on the track. All it takes is repetitions and a lot of work to learn how to drive them in a new way. Changing the driving style now works automatically when I couldn't do it before. It felt good, Bottas said.
- That's one thing. Of course, everything has happened in personal life and in the making, ”Bottas says.
After his marriage to Emilia Pikkarainen last fall, Bottas has spent the winter with Australian professional cyclist Tiffany Cromwell and exudes happiness.
- The mood is good and the mood is good. Then usually the track also tastes good.
Read also: Tiffany Cromwell shared a gracious co-production with Valtteri Bottas of Lapland - "Here in a Magical Place"
The first test of the season and the enormous G-forces are always a tough experience for a top athlete like F1 riders after a long break. When Bottas wakes up on a new day today and in the coming days, especially the neck can be tender.
- Yes it usually does. In the last hour of driving, I already felt a little bit. It's always the same thing. No matter how you train, the rapid changes of direction, the vibrations and everything will make your neck sore. The second week is usually much easier.