Valtteri Bottas says a more direct and aggressive approach to his set-up work with Mercedes has helped him step up his performance this season.
Bottas currently leads the world championship standings by a single point from team mate Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes duo trading wins in the first four races of the season.
The Finn's performance this season is a notable improvement from 2018 when he struggled to race on a par with Hamilton, let alone beat the Brit. But what exactly has changed for the Mercedes driver since last year?
"I think this year has been different to last year as I’ve been maybe a bit more direct and more maybe let’s say aggressive in how big changes we’ve been making in the practice and what kind of set-up directions we’ve been taking," explained last Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix winner.
"That’s why you gain confidence and knowing what exactly you need from the car and how you feel the car will be quicker for you.
"We’ve had pretty clear set-up directions in the first three race weekends, especially Melbourne and the last race in terms of where we’ve ended up and been quite happy with the set-up.
"I think I’ve definitely improved in that sense."
A few internal shifts among Mercedes' engineers over the winter led the German outfit to assign Hamilton's former race engineer - Riccardo Musconi - to Bottas' side of the garage, as well as a different performance engineer.
The 29-year-old feels those changes and the new ideas they brought about have also had a positive impact on his performance.
"I also have a new core engineering team, with a new race and performance engineer, so that also brings many different ideas on the table and a different way of thinking which then makes me also think different things on the set-up - what will work with me and for the car, and for the qualifying, for the race and so on," Bottas added.
"There’s been big development there I think from my side on that, and something I’m particularly learning and keep carrying on for the season, race-by-race."