“You can only assume they’re going to be right there at the front at the first race and it’s going to be a great long battle with them throughout the year.”
Max Verstappen spoke of “positive feelings in the car” but said that it wouldn’t be until Q3, in the first qualifying session of the year, that true performance could be judged.
By then, Bottas said that he hopes this year’s Mercedes will have been fine-tuned, after complaining that it was tricky to handle on Saturday, with a snappy rear end.
After driving during Sunday’s morning session, he said: “It feels like we’ve made some steps forward.
“[I’m] still not 100% happy with the car as you would never be at this early stage of the season.
“We keep working we keep trying to get the balance better and get the car to behave nicer and hopefully that way, be faster. It’s just completely unknown, where we are at the moment: three days of testing with the first day being compromised, it’s so hard to say but we really focus on our work and try to be faster and faster.
“I feel like we made a decent recovery. I can’t say that we fully achieved the mileage we wanted to get into three days but actually [we are] not that far off.
“So, yesterday I feel like we’ve made 95% most out of it and today I would say 100%, we had a really solid day today with a good amount of quality laps and faulty tests.
“Now it’s time to turn that data into performance somehow. In the next two weeks before, before the race.”