Valtteri Bottas was a happy man after the first two practice sessions at Imola ahead of the Emilia Romagna GP.
The Finn set the fastest time in both the first and second practice sessions, with Mercedes leading the way 1-2 as Lewis Hamilton settled for second.
Red Bull didn't really get to show their pace, with Max Verstappen suffering a suspected driveshaft failure early in second practice but, regardless, the Mercedes drivers were much happier than after the first practice session three weeks ago in Bahrain.
"To be honest, starting this weekend if I compared to Bahrain how the car is feeling, it is definitely feeling better," Bottas told media, including RacingNews365.
"So that's nice. But as I said yesterday, it is a different track and different type of circuit and surface and grip level but, at least, the weekend has started in a positiveway and the car was really wasn't far off in terms of the setup. There's still things to be tuned but, overall, the balance, I'm a lot happier with the car now than three weeks ago."
With Mercedes pushing hard to rectify their balance issues after Bahrain, Bottas said there's a definite feeling of improvement from the W12.
"It feels better, it's still [the] same type of issues but less so. It's still not perfect. But we're only on event two out of 23 this season. So,hopefully, we'll have enough time to fix it. But at least we've made steps forward and that's good.
"We definitely didn't see the best out of Red Bull today. We're going to see that in Q3 tomorrow. But, no doubt, they're going to be fast and we still don't think we're the fastest car. We really need to prove that on Saturday."