Valtteri Bottas believes Mercedes is capable of improving in “many areas” after failing to win any of the opening three races of the new Formula 1 season.
Sebastian Vettel took back-to-back victories in the opening two rounds of the year before Daniel Ricciardo won last time out in China, with the run marking the first time Mercedes has failed to win in three consecutive races since the V6 power units were introduced in 2014. Although Bottas believes the performance level of the top three is relatively evenly matched, he sees areas where Mercedes has clear potential to improve.
“I think the top three teams are extremely close at this point and there’s been a little bit of bad luck and a bit of things we could’ve done better,” Bottas said. “That’s how it goes for every team, but it is extremely close – Ferrari has been better sometimes, Red Bull has been better [in China] especially at the end of the race.
“In general the main thing is we need to make our car quicker, we need to make our packager stronger, if we want to win lots of races. Otherwise it’s going to be difficult. That’s how it is, how competitive it is this year in Formula 1.
“We’re definitively facing a big challenge but we’re up for it – we know we can still improve many areas and it’s just a matter of time before we get everything perfect and the win will come. But it’s not been ideal in the first three races, not winning.”
Having come close to winning each of the last two races – and got the better of teammate Lewis Hamilton on each occasion – Bottas is eager to try and secure his first victory of the year this weekend in Baku.
“I definitely felt like I could get everything out of the car there was to get [in Shanghai. But, unfortunately, the result wasn’t what we wanted. I’m looking forward to Baku as another great opportunity. Now it’s two in a row where the win has been so close. So I’m really hungry for the win now.”