Bottas: ‘Weird’ testing games hide pecking order

Date published: February 29 2020

Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas pA

Valtteri Bottas says the “weird” games teams were playing in testing masks the true 2020 order, but he expects a three-way battle at the top.

Bottas ended the two weeks of testing atop the pile, while he also set the fastest overall time of testing with a 1:15.732.

But while he doesn’t want to draw too many conclusions from testing, he does expect the usual three-team battle of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull at the top when the 2020 season gets underway in two weeks.

“From testing, it’s impossible to draw detailed conclusions of where you are,” he is quoted by Insideracing.com.

“We felt we really struggled last year in testing and then we were really strong in Melbourne, so you never know what other packages teams are bringing to the first race from testing.

“Even from testing times, it’s tricky to read. I still think it’s going to be three teams challenging, at the beginning of the season at least, for wins.”

The mystery of where teams actually are was only heightened by the ‘sandbagging‘ which was occurring throughout the grid with teams reluctant to show their pace.

Bottas said that the games teams were playing were “weird”, but eventually “everyone will show their cards”.

“It’s a weird game in this sport sometimes with how much you’re showing your speed in testing,” he admitted.

“Only the teams themselves know the true form they have. They can calculate and add up everything in terms of performance, what lap time they could do in theory, and we can only guess what other teams are running and how much they have in their pocket.

“It’s so difficult to say. We’ve also learned as a team it’s very important to keep focusing on our own work and own performance, doing our job, and eventually, the time will come that everyone will show their cards.”

The Finn also said that the strange weather conditions in Barcelona can impact upon performance for the teams.

“You always need to remind yourself that the conditions here are pretty unique,” he explained.

“Especially in the mornings and late afternoons, the air temperature is something that you do not see for the Grands Prix.

“The track temperature in the mornings is really cool, which allows you, for example in the long runs, allows you to push really hard because the tyres don’t really overheat in those conditions.

“We know there will be quite a big difference in Melbourne, it’s quite a different track obviously, but even coming back to Barcelona in May, it’s quite a different feeling then in the car.

“We know more or less what to expect, but we need to keep reminding ourselves [of the difference].”

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