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Valtteri Bottas

Bottas: Istanbul now one of the grippiest tracks on the calendar

The Mercedes driver has explained how much of a difference there is in grip levels at the Istanbul Park track compared to last year.

Bottas
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To news overview © Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas has explained the impact on the increased level of grip at the Istanbul Park Circuit compared to the Turkish Grand Prix's return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2020.

Last year saw most drivers struggle due to the newly relayed tarmac which had very little grip, but Friday's running marked a vast difference with track conditions appearing to be more 'normal' as Lewis Hamilton topped both practice sessions.

Bottas also had a solid day, finishing fourth and third in the two sessions respectively, which underlined Mercedes' strong pace.

"There's proper grip and actually I think it's [now] one of the most grippy tracks we have on the calendar," explained Bottas. "It obviously makes the track more fun.

"It's a pretty different approach with the car setup compared to last year because of that, and we had to readjust quite a bit during the day.

"The main thing today was trying to adapt and trying to hit the balance. I think the starting point was a bit far off, but I'm sure it was the same for everyone.

"In practice two, it was actually feeling already pretty good, I had no big issues with the car and I feel like it could be a strong weekend for us.

"The mechanical balance has had to be adjusted quite a bit. Last year the balance was to be a bit more 'understeery' because it was so low grip.

"Now we can be a bit more aggressive mechanically with the car, and even downforce levels we had to adjust a bit because of the increased grip."

Bottas is likely to be Mercedes' lead driver on Sunday because of Hamilton's 10-grid place penalty for a new Internal Combustion Engine.

The Finn, who will leave Mercedes at the end of the year, is yet to win a race in 2021 and expects a close fight with Red Bull, despite Max Verstappen's and Sergio Perez's lack of pace in Friday practice.

"It was a pretty straightforward day, we had a good amount of running," said Bottas.

"It seems like a good track for Ferrari. But I still think Red Bull have more to come. We should as well, so I think it's going to be close."

F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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