Valtteri Bottas expects Williams to be closer to Malaysian Grand Prix winners Ferrari in China this weekend.
Williams entered 2015 expecting to head the battle for the ‘best of the rest’ tag behind the dominant Mercedes team, but the Grove-based squad has been displaced by Ferrari in the opening two rounds of the season.
Sebastian Vettel beat Felipe Massa to finish third in Australia, and mastered a two-stop tyre strategy in the heat of Malaysia to lead home the two Mercedes team-mates of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Bottas and Massa trailed Vettel by a minute in Sepang, but with cooler temperatures expected at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, the Finn believes Williams will be closer to Ferrari.
“For sure they [Ferrari] made a really big step with the engine but also with the car,” Bottas told reporters in China on Thursday.
“I think in Malaysia the way they could manage the tyre temperatures was the main thing really. It was pretty special how they could do that, just to keep doing the same pace for such long stints.
“We obviously have some work to do on that side, but here should be more equal to them with these conditions.”
Bottas believes there is still more to come concerning the driveability of the new Mercedes power unit in the back of the FW37.
“We are still working on the drivability, it’s still not quite as good as maybe the end of last year,” he explained. “But we are still improving every time we go out basically – trying some different things here, hopefully it will be nice and smooth.
“I’ve heard that also other Mercedes teams have had similar issues. I would think that all the information is shared, normally that should be the case so I don’t think anyone is really a big step forward with the same engine.”
This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Image courtesy of Williams F1 Team