Bottas enthused by Albert Park updates

Valtteri Bottas is hopeful of a Qualifying 3 appearance for the Australian Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas is hopeful of a Qualifying 3 appearance for the Australian Grand Prix

Upgrades on the Alfa Romeo Sauber for this weekend’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix leave Valtteri Bottas optimistic about his chances.

The Swiss squad is embroiled in the midfield pack that seems to include six of the sport’s 10 teams.

Those six trail Red Bull, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Mercedes, leaving just two places left in Qualifying 3 in normal circumstances.

Bottas finished eighth in the opening race of the season in Bahrain but neither he nor team-mate Zhou Guanyu were among the points in Saudi Arabia.

A small advantage could net strong returns with the midfield pack so tightly packed.

Hence Bottas is enthused by the updates his team has brought this weekend, along with identifying an issue on his car following Jeddah.

“I really think we definitely have a chance to be in Q3,” he said of his chances in Albert Park.

“We’ve been close a couple of times.

“We actually have some new bits in the car this weekend, which will give a bit of lap time.

“And we found an issue my car in Saudi, so that actually gives me more confidence because if we didn’t find anything, that’s not good.

Alfa Romeo Sauber has a new nose, front wing, and sidepod inlet this weekend.

According to the team’s submissions to the FIA, the former two are related to local loading, with the sidepod changes designed to condition the airflow.

“There’s something in the pipeline as well for a few races ahead,” Bottas added.

“There’s a bit of a plan and looks like we are able to achieve some decent steps.”

Alfa Romeo Sauber lies sixth in the constructors’ championship courtesy of the four points scored by Bottas in Bahrain.

Alpine ahead is on eight from the opening two races, with Haas and Williams sitting tied on a single point behind.

Bottas was 12th fastest in the rain-affected Free Practice 2 having been 18th in the day’s earlier running.

Practice continues on Saturday with Free Practice 3 at 12:30 AEDT ahead of qualifying at 16:00.

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