• Williams

Williams yet to peak - Bottas

ESPN Staff
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Bottas finished a career-best fifth in Melbourne © Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas is convinced Williams can start to live up to its pre-season hype in Malaysia after showing glimpses of its potential in the season opener.

Williams was expected to be the only genuine challenger to Mercedes, but a disappointing qualifying session was compounded on Sunday when Felipe Massa was knocked out at the opening corner by Kamui Kobayashi, while Bottas' impressive drive was spoilt by an early scrape against the wall which ultimately cost him a shot at a podium. Bottas is refusing to dwell on what might have been in Australia, especially as he feels Malaysia is the perfect venue for Williams to prove it can be a contender.

"There are 18 races to prove what we can do," Bottas said. "It could have been better in Australia. There was nothing Felipe could have done [to avoid Kobayashi incident] and I made a mistake - so there is definitely more to come. It is a different team now [to this time last year]. Now we have more points than last year and the car is so much quicker compared to the others. Malaysia will be a very different track.. It's a bit more like a proper race track, rather than a special street circuit, which is bumpy and quite slippery surface. We do expect that we can really fight in the top six positions and I am very, very much looking forward to that."

Despite his optimism, Bottas is refusing to ignore Williams' weaknesses, and believes Australia - where he and Felipe Massa struggled in the wet on Saturday - was an eye-opening weekend for the team.

"In the braking and entry of corners we were quite strong. You can lean on it and trust it. On power we still have some weak points with the car, and traction is something we need to work on - especially in the wet. We were struggling a little bit to follow others in the high-speed corners - that is the weak point for us. In some exits of the corners, and some high-speed corners, we were losing a little bit. But I would say our top speeds are very strong, which helps with the overtaking."

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