Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas fears that Ferrari will enjoy an enormous advantage in China due to their superior straight-line speed.
The Chinese Grand Prix and the following race in Azerbaijan represent high-power circuits, and Bottas believes the team must work hard to neutralise what has been claimed as Ferrari’s secret to their pace – their speed on the straights.
The Silver Arrows comfortably outperformed their rivals in Australia with Bottas taking the win and leading a Mercedes one-two, before they completed another one-two in Bahrain, but only because of Charles Leclerc’s engine issues.
Mercedes had been soundly beaten for pace by the Scuderia throughout the weekend, and Bottas expects that “massive gain” in straight-line speed to help Ferrari on a track that features one of the longest straights on the calendar.
“We’ve seen Ferrari was making all the time on the straights, and in China, there’s a longer straight. So we do need to work hard,” Bottas told Crash.net.
“For sure we are improving the car all the time and we need to review what we can do for the straight lines, but it’s going to be tough.
“But like [Bahrain] showed, if we keep focusing on ourselves and our things, then anything is possible.
“The next two races there are massively long straights, and I think [in Bahrain] they were making more than 0.4s only in straight lines per lap.
“We can’t find 0.4s like this. We need to maybe find some of it in the corners and some of it in the straight line, but it’s early on in the season and still a long way to go.
“But at least we know what we can still work on.”