Valtteri Bottas has warned Mercedes they won’t have it all their own way in Russia this weekend.
Bottas and his Williams teammate Felipe Massa have managed only three podiums between them during the 14 races to date, but the Finn is confident they will up their game in Sochi.
The 26-year-old enjoyed a fine weekend at the inaugural Russian GP last year and is taking the positives from that into the 2015 race.
Twelve months ago, the 26-year-old qualified and finished third behind the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Fifth place in Japan last time out was Bottas’ third successive top-five finish and he is hoping he can go one better and get back on the podium this weekend.
“We had a good result last year in Russia so we’re expecting another strong weekend and a good collection of points,” said the Finn.
“We all know the track now and it has a really good flow, with the long straights a good fit for our car. The fans were passionate last year so we look forward to putting on another good show for them.
“Pace-wise we were close to Mercedes in Japan and I think we can be close again in Sochi, just like we were in 2014.”
Massa endured a disaster in qualifying last year and eventually started back in 18th place on the grid.
But he is confident of doing better this time around, saying: “The circuit has almost everything, starting with a straight and then moving into high-speed corners and then very slow corners in the middle sector.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) October 6, 2015
“This makes setting up the car really important and the importance of downforce evident. I hope to make amends for qualifying last year and I’m confident we can have a competitive race.”
Williams are third in the Constructors’ Championship, 129 points behind second-placed Ferrari but 49 points ahead of Red Bull, and head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley is eager to consolidate their place in the standings.
“The objectives for the Championship are fairly clear and we hope to further realise those goals in Russia,” he said. “We are hoping for another good race, with plenty of overtaking like last year.”
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