Williams driver Valterri Bottas was happy to run in today's free practice sessions without suffering from the back pain which kept him out of the Australian Grand Prix.
Earlier in the week, Williams made some seat and pedal settings to accommodate the Finn and minimise any stress induced by the affliction. Following two practice session in Malaysia on Friday, Bottas said the changes had been successful.
"It was nice to be back and it was nice to drive without any major pain, only little things that we were expecting," Bottas explained. "We had quite a different pedal position and I could use it immediately, and I can apply the maximum brake pressure, even on the long run, without any increased pain. I’m confident for the weekend because there are still many more pain killers I can take and I haven’t taken much."
Bottas put Williams in the top five in Friday's second session just in front of team mate Massa.
"Today was difficult conditions. The track was really dirty and dusty in FP1 and in FP2 it was obviously very hot. The short runs didn’t feel too bad but on the long runs we had damage on the car – a rear brake duct and some bits were coming off during the run – which didn’t help."
Williams anticipated from the outset being on a par with Ferrari but the red cars appear to have a slight edge in Malaysia.
"It looks like Ferrari are perhaps a little bit stronger than we expected. We know that we can improve a lot for tomorrow, we can still improve the car balance and obviously take out fuel and turn up the engine. Whether it will be enough, I don’t know."
Tyre degradation is a major concern for all teams in Malaysia, and Bottas said Williams is no exception.
"I’ve only seen what I felt and it was not good also because of the problem I had with the car. I need to see more data but it’s going to be difficult for sure and the set-up will be mainly done for the race."
Click here for Friday's gallery from the Malaysian Grand Prix