Suffering one of his worst Fridays of this season, Valtteri Bottas says his P15 in second practice is not a “true” indication of Alfa Romeo’s pace.
And, he revealed, there are updates to come on Saturday.
Bottas finished Friday’s running for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix down in 15th place, the Finn almost two seconds slower than the leading Ferrari.
In the season in which he has scored in six out of seven grands prix, his pace – or lack thereof – came as a bit of a surprise to those looking in.
Bottas, though, says he is not worried.
“I don’t think it’s the true picture of where we are,” he told Motorsport.com.
“The fact is we don’t necessarily have all the best bits on the car yet. And also on my last lap, I was four tenths up, but then I had a lock-up, and I lost all the time.
“So even with that I would have been quite a bit closer. Plus any improvements we can make for tomorrow.
“So it’s going to be extremely close. We did quite a lot of set-up changes, and towards the end, it was getting much better.”
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) June 11, 2022
Alfa Romeo will introduce upgrades for the car in Saturday’s final practice, the team opting not to run them on Friday as they did not want to risk them being damaged should either Bottas or Zhou Guanyu crash.
Aside from a one-off livery change, Alfa Romeo have new front wing flaps and a new rear wing that will be run in FP2.
“My understanding is that they are here, but we don’t have too many of them,” said Bottas of the parts shortage. “So there’s always a risk in these street circuits.
“I believe that will give us hopefully a bit of a step. But we also need to find more than that.
“I’m sure we can do it, and I know we can still improve the set-up and everything. It’s quite a sensitive track, but once you get the set-up right, then you can find quite a lot of lap time.”
Bottas added that he believes if Alfa Romeo get “everything right” on Saturday, he is “still optimistic we should be able to fight for a Q3 position.
“And I think the race pace, as always, should be okay. So I’m still optimistic for the weekend.”
Bottas has scored in six of this year’s seven grands prix to sit eighth in the Drivers’ Championship on 40 points.
All eyes on Baku this weekend
Formula 1 arrives to the streets of Baku this weekend for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.