After an outstanding Monaco Grand Prix followed by a disappointing race in Azerbaijan, the time for a change had come for Bottas that saw his chassis replaced for the French GP. The Finn is satisfied with his refreshed car.
Bottas had a surprising stint of Grand Prix in Monaco and Azerbaijan. As the Finn seemed to be totally at ease and able to fight for the win in Monaco, while his teammate saw himself helpless and seemingly unable to warm up his tires, everything was reversed in Baku that proved to be a frustrating venue for the Mercedes driver.
Ahead of the French Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, therefore, decided to bring some modifications to the single-seater of his 31-year-old protege.
“It’s the chassis that was splendid in Monaco that qualified Valtteri right in front. But you never know,” Wolff said.
“You listen to the engineers and [they confirm] it’s all tested and stiff, there shouldn’t be any difference, but if the driver feels that it’s not, then it’s definitely not worth trying to make a point here. You just need to change.”
“We swap parts around all the time, and this is part of the planning as these are carryover chassis, they’re running for a second season, so we’re not accumulating millions of miles on one and basically, that’s part of the plan.”
On his side, Bottas admitted feeling confident and able to trust his car, possibly thanks to his new chassis. This feeling of freedom the Finn seems to have found was demonstrated during this morning’s two practice sessions in which the silver arrow consecutively finished at least two tenths ahead of teammate Hamilton.
“It’s such a different track [to Baku],” Bottas admitted.
“I could feel that we started the weekend on the right foot, everything was feeling quite okay and being comfortable and pretty fast with the car so far.”
“It’s hard to say if it’s chassis or track conditions but it’s a lot better feeling than two weeks ago, that’s for sure.”
“But the balance is good, the tires are working well. I’m confident with the car, I can trust the car and that’s the biggest difference.”