Bottas expects to be closer to Merc


Williams haven’t been able to take the fight to Mercedes this year, but Valtteri Bottas is hopeful they will be closer to the front-runners in Sochi.

Bottas and team-mate Felipe Massa have secured only three podiums between them during the 14 races to date, but the Finn is confident they will up their game at the Russian GP.

The 26-year-old has reason to be optimistic as he qualified and finished third behind the Merc duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the inaugural event in 2014.

“We had a good result last year in Russia so we’re expecting another strong weekend and a good collection of points,” Bottas said.

“We all know the track now and it has a really good flow, with the long straights a good fit for our car. The fans were passionate last year so we look forward to putting on another good show for them.

“Pace wise we were close to Mercedes in Japan and I think we can be close again in Sochi, just like we were in 2014.”

Williams are currently third in the Constructors’ Championship, 129 points behind second-placed Ferrari and 49 points ahead of Red Bull, and head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley says they want to collect a decent haul of points this weekend.

“The objectives for the Championship are fairly clear. We are looking to reduce the gap to the teams in front and extend the gap to the teams behind and we hope to further realise those goals in Russia,” he said.

“The facilities in Sochi are excellent considering it’s a new track and we are hoping for another good race, with plenty of overtaking like last year. The track has some quick straights and low speed corners, so the compromise on downforce has to be correct.”