Bottas encouraged by Williams pace

© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas believes Williams “can be strong” during this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, as it showed consistent pace across the opening day of free practice.

While the British team has become accustomed to keeping a fairly low profile on Fridays, the Finn finished both sessions well inside the top 10. Like most drivers, Bottas initially struggled on low grip but the 26-year-old - who was later hit with a three-place grid penalty for a red flag infringement - was happy to see conditions improve throughout the day.

“There was less grip out there compared to last year and it felt more slippery,” Bottas said. “But it got better, I felt more and more comfortable with the car and the main thing we were trying to do today was to get the tyres to work in the right pressure and the right temperature.

“In the afternoon it started to feel quite good, the car was quite consistent even during the long runs with the softer tyre, so it was not a bad day. I think we can be strong here.”

“I think we can still improve with the standard procedures we always have for Saturday.”

Unlike team-mate Felipe Massa, whose Williams FW37 looks a handful all day long, Bottas’ sole alert came in FP2 when he had a big spin and immediately asked his team to “check rear wing stability”.

“There were a couple of occasions [where the car] snapped with oversteer. The first was in Turn 6 and then I spun in Turn 9, so we need to have a look at the data to see if there was any stall of the wing, but these things can happen.”

Having finished merely one tenth off fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen in the afternoon, Bottas was then asked whether he could see Williams take on the fight to Ferrari on race day.

“It’s always possible, but they are strong here,” was his reply. “Still, I’m sure we can fight with them, although they won’t be easy to beat.”

FP2 REPORT: Rosberg turns the tables on Hamilton

AS IT HAPPENED: Brazilian Grand Prix FP2

Use the red tabs on either side of the screen to scroll through more Formula One news and features

Click here for Friday's gallery from the Brazilian Grand Prix

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter