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‘No panic’ as Bottas builds confidence

Valtteri Bottas says he is staying calm, despite being outperformed in his first two races since switching to Mercedes.

The Finn, having replaced Nico Rosberg, is on just a one-year contract, and in both Australia and China he was narrowly but clearly behind incumbent Lewis Hamilton.

“With Hamilton in the car, we are two tenths faster than Ferrari,” an unnamed Mercedes engineer told Auto Motor und Sport.

But Bottas insists it is “much too early” to say that Australia and China have set the tone for the rest of the season, with Hamilton duelling only with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

“It’s much too early to say that only two drivers are fighting for the championship,” said the 27-year-old in Bahrain.

“The season is just too young for such predictions.”

In fact, Bottas says he is happy with his progress so far, even if he initially struggled to cope with the anger of spinning behind the safety car in China.

“I feel no hurry or panic,” he said.

“My previous car (the Williams) behaved different mechanically, so I’m getting used to it now. And there are many small things that have a big impact in formula one.”

F1 pundit Marc Surer agrees that Bottas is still building up to full speed at Mercedes.

“He’s coming,” the former F1 driver told the German broadcaster Sky.

“He’s still making mistakes that are linked to nervousness due to being under pressure,” Surer added.

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