Bottas: Bahrain a better benchmark for Williams pace

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Valtteri Bottas thinks this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix will present the Williams F1 team with clearer indicators as to where it sits in the early 2016 hierarchy.

Despite a double points finish in Australia’s F1 opener, the British outfit feels it has slipped behind Toro Rosso as ‘the best of the rest’ behind Mercedes and Ferrari. Unlike the Albert Park, the Bahrain International Circuit is a permanent venue, so a better basis for comparison in Bottas’ opinion.

“It is quite a different kind of track to Melbourne, so it’s going to be interesting to see where we are compared to the others; because it’s more like a standard race track rather than the Melbourne street circuit,” the Finn said.

“I prefer [Bahrain] much more as an evening race. The track looks good and is just as nice to drive. It’s a good track for racing and I got a decent result [fourth] last year.”

Pat Symonds adds that round two of this year’s F1 championship will provide Williams with a first opportunity to assess the FW38’s cooling system, while also hoping that his team’s strategic call in terms of tyre allocations will pay off.

“The Bahrain International Circuit is quite tough in all respects,” said Williams’ chief technical officier. “It’s important to have good high-speed balance in the car and look after the rear tyres in particular.

“We will see much hotter conditions, and there is always a concern over wind and sand, which was a real factor in the early part of the weekend last year.

“Following the cooler Australian conditions, we will now see how our cooling systems stand up in the heat and what impact opening up these systems has on aerodynamic performance.

“The tyre choice shows a bit of variation as well with Ferrari and ourselves appearing to be going down a different route to Mercedes, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out over the weekend.”

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