Bottas: Hamilton’s infection ‘not that mild’

Date published: December 11 2020

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is back after missing the last race due to testing positive for COVID-19, and Valtteri Bottas says his condition wasn’t mild.

Hamilton became the third driver of the season to test positive for the virus and missed the Sakhir Grand Prix as a result, with George Russell replacing him.

The Brit himself was reluctant to go into any kind of detail about what sort of condition he was while infected, but Bottas heard that it was quite serious.

“Nice to see him healthy and back,” the Finn said after Friday running.

“For sure, you don’t wish for anyone to have the virus, and apparently it was not that mild, so it’s good to see him happy being back in the car.”

Bottas himself enjoyed a decent day, topping FP2 after finished in P2 in the morning session. Even so, he doesn’t feel that the setup of his car is just right yet.

“It was good. Immediately the car felt pretty good. Still, as always, work to do on the balance,” he added.

“The main issue is really getting the balance together through the lap. Some corners I am struggling with the front end and some corners with the rear end but, overall, it’s not far off as the time shows.”

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The top three – the Mercedes drivers and Max Verstappen – didn’t set particularly representative lap times in FP2, with each of them failing to set a clean, flying lap on the soft tyre.

In fact, Bottas set his quickest time of the session on the harder, medium compound, and says that they felt better than the softs, which shouldn’t be the case.

“I didn’t get the softs into the window today,” he said.

“On my opening lap, I started the lap and didn’t have grip. I think they were below the temperature window and then the following lap they were overheating massively.

“So there’s still work to do there because, from my side today, the medium actually felt like the better tyre, and it shouldn’t be that way.

“If we can get everything out of the softs, in theory, that should be better.”

Hamilton faced similar issues and also did his best lap of the day on the medium compound. Given that, it’s likely that both will choose to use it prior to Q3 in qualifying.

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