Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin, says the team are backing Valtteri Bottas to win the Turkish Grand Prix, with the Finn expected to be the lead Mercedes driver due to Lewis Hamilton's grid penalty.
Bottas is yet to win a race this year but Mercedes' dry weather pace on Friday indicated that they have the car to beat in Istanbul.
Hamilton will start no higher than 11th place due to his grid penalty for a fourth engine, giving Bottas a major opportunity to take victory if Hamilton cannot come through the field quickly.
"Overtaking is pretty hard," Shovlin told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press. "It's often a bit more difficult in the free practice sessions because you don't run long stints on the tyres. You don't get differences in degradation building up.
"So on that side, Friday's indications are probably [saying] it's a bit tougher than we would like. But you don't always get what you want.
"What we've also seen is that the car is working really well. Both drivers have had a strong day, which is good.
"As much as the Drivers' Championship draws everyone's focus towards what is going on with Lewis, with Valtteri, the objective is quite clear that we need to get pole [position] and we want him to win the race."
Whilst Hamilton topped both practice sessions on Friday, Bottas was still faster than the Red Bull duo of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in FP2.
Shovlin revealed Mercedes were "evaluating some development parts" on Hamilton's car, including a new front wing, and confirmed that the championship leader will take part in qualifying as normal.
"He's still going to qualify, we still want to get him as far up the grid as possible," said Shovlin. "It's obviously very different when you've got a 10-place penalty as opposed to a back-of-the-grid penalty.
"So really, it was a very standard programme, just deliberately getting a few more laps in traffic to try and feel what the car is doing when you're following someone closely."
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