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Mercedes did not see Bottas “as relaxed as it is now” in Formula 1

In early September, Mercedes announced it had signed Williams’ George Russell to partner with Lewis Hamilton for 2022 and beyond, with Valtteri..

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Mercedes did not see Bottas "as relaxed as it is now" in Formula 1

In early September, Mercedes announced it had signed Williams’ George Russell to partner with Lewis Hamilton for 2022 and beyond, with Valtteri Bottas joining Alfa Romeo on a multi-year deal.

Since the announcement of the deal, Bottas seems to be flourishing, he took his first win of the campaign in Turkey and scored three poles in addition to two sprint races.

Bottas admitted that his long-term contract with Alfa Romeo felt “almost like a load off his shoulders” after signing his first real multi-year deal in Formula 1 instead of fighting for his seat at Williams and Mercedes.

When asked whether Mercedes had seen a change at Bottas, Shovlin, trackside engineering director of the Brackley outfit, admitted that he had not seen Finn “as relaxed” as he is now.

“Valtteri was always very quick there,” Shovlin told Sky Sports F1 in Qatar.

“I think like he said it was a pretty big deal to have a long-term contract when he knows what his future is.

“He only drives because he loves to drive and the car works well and he’s having a lot of fun out there so we haven’t seen Valtteri as relaxed as we do now.

“And he’s doing a brilliant job for us so we’re happy.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

When team-mate Hamilton admitted he lacked the pace on Friday, Bottas led the lead in the second practice session of the Qatar Grand Prix, the most representative of qualifying and racing conditions at the first F1 night race at Losail.

Shovlin said “Valtteri looked like the man out there” and is confident that Hamilton will be more comfortable with his Mercedes W12 on Saturday.

“Valtteri was quick on a single lap and very good over a long distance,” he added.

“And if the car works well then we’ll get the car to run well with Lewis. So it was an encouraging Friday for us from that point of view.

“It’s a new route for us; we do a lot of simulation work and then you put the car on the track and the big question is whether the simulation matches what we see on the track.

“The car is working well, luckily, it is going to where we honestly expected it to be. And Valtteri had a really, really strong day from him. So overall we are pretty happy with it.”

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