Valtteri Bottas emphasized the need for Mercedes to be focused on being quicker in the first and last sectors, as opposed to the middle sector at Spa Francorchamps, with the team experimenting with both low and medium downforce rear wings.
While teammate Lewis Hamilton was on the slower end, Bottas displayed excellent pace throughout both practice sessions, topping FP1 and narrowly going slower than FP2 leader Max Verstappen.
“It’s going to be a key decision for what we choose [to run] for qualifying,” Bottas said. “It’s going to be close with Red Bull, no doubt. We just need to find some marginal gains tonight.
“We definitely seemed quite fast on the straight line, maybe less so in Sector 2, where the corners are but for me, for the races it’s important to be quick in Sector 1 and Sector 3.”
Although FP1 and FP2 were mostly dry, wet weather is forecasted throughout the weekend with an 80 percent chance of rain for the race on Sunday. Bottas admitted that comparing pace from practice is tricky, but that overall, it was “pretty decent”.
“[It’s] always tricky to compare in detail from the practice but at least the feeling is good so that’s a positive,” Bottas explained. “It didn’t look too bad today with the pace in the short runs and the long runs. It was pretty decent.”