Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, F1Zone’s sister site F1Arab sat down with Williams’s Valtteri Bottas to talk about the 2013 season.
You’ve never raced in Bahrain before, how does that affect your approach?
Valtteri Bottas: I looked at some of the data we collected from last year, so I know the track the weather was nice as always, so I’ve had a good look at my notes and I feel ready.
What’s your goal for this weekend?
VB: The car we had is going to be the same as in the last race so it’s going to be tough. It’ll be difficult to get into the points. I think our goal should be to push as much as we can. I’ll do my best, but it’ll be difficult to get into the top 10.
When you look at the pace of last year’s car, is it frustrating to be in your current position?
VB: I think frustrated is the wrong word but it’s not what we wanted as a team. We were hoping for a step forward but the others relative to us are a little bit quicker than last year. We need to find the problems and fix them as quickly as possible. We have a better understanding of what’s happening and why we are not as fast as we should be but it’s not going to be a fix in one night or one week.
What about bringing back the FW34?
VB: Yeah…it’s difficult to go back to the old car because of the amount of work we’ve done on this car. We still think this car has more potential, we’re just struggling to get it out. It looks like we’re going to stick with this car and make the most of it.
What was the feeling like after testing?
VB: In testing the feeling was good, we felt the improvements in some areas compared to last year. We were positive but on the lap times it was difficult, we didn’t know the fuel loads of others and so on. We were expecting to be much more competitive in the race. But when we got there we saw it was not where it was.
The main goal all the time is to improve a lot and get everything out of the car, getting better and better. Of course I was dreaming for a lot of points, so far we have zero point. I hope we can improve the car and get as many points as possible.
What have you learnt from your team-mate, Pastor Maldonado?
VB: I think I’ve learnt some things in qualifying; he’s a very good qualifier. In one lap he really can take everything out of the car. Qualifying’s still something I need to improve on. Some of [the time loss] is the tyres; some of it is driving style in general. The races have been quite good, I’ve got quite quickly the feeling of the tyre and how you need to manage it and get to the end of the race. Of course you can always improve and I will race by race but if we look at the whole weekend then it’s qualifying where I need to improve.
You have a close relationship with Mika Hakkinen. What advice has he given you?
VB: I think just to trust yourself, trust your skills. That’s what he keeps saying and it’s true because you need to trust yourself. You’re here against the world’s best drivers and you want to be the best.
When you consider the likes of Keke Rosberg, Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, does being Finnish give you added pressure?
VB: I think it’s cool, I think it’s nice. Every Finnish driver has been normally good in a good team so I don’t see any pressure, I think it’s very nice and I have a lot of support from Finland. They all give me good luck.