Mercedes ‘new boy’ Valtteri Bottas admits that changing from Williams to Mercedes has been a bigger challenge than he expected, and makes no secret of the fact that he will be watching and learning from triple Formula 1 World Champion teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas, who only ever drove for Williams in F1, told Sky Sports in Barcelona, “I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the team every day but there is still work to do. Changing teams is maybe a slight bigger thing than l initially thought it would be. But it’s not a hurdle you can’t get over. I’ve been working pretty flat out to get comfortable.
“That’s why everything has run quite smoothly and I’m sure next week we will make big progress. And before Melbourne I will have time to go back to the factory and analyse everything and I’m confident we will be ready so I’ll be completely part of the team before Melbourne.”
“I am the type of driver who likes to understand everything what is going into the car and what effect it has. With how the car behaves there is still a bit more to do.”
Bottas has arrived in a team where Hamilton has won two world titles since he joined back in 2013 and is very much at home with the Silver Arrows outfit.
Bottas acknowledged, “Where Lewis has as an advantage is in that he has been part of this team for a long time. He knows exactly how the team works, and he commented after the first run in the new car that it had pretty much the same behaviour to the old car.”
“But l would rather join a team at this point than last year,” he added referring to the new rules that have changed how the cars must be driven, and for him leveled the playing field vis-à-vis his teammate.
“Having a new team-mate, there is always something to learn and I’ll definitely be watching Lewis closely. It would be stupid not to.”
“I can learn massively with the engineers. This is an opportunity for me to get to the next level with my performance with all the technical understanding. There is so much information coming in and nearly as much as I can take in so it’s very interesting,” added Bottas who will be looking to win his first grand prix starting at the season opener in Australia later this month.