Bottas seeks 'perfection' to beat Hamilton after Sector 3 issues in practice

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Valtteri Bottas accepts it will need "perfection" to beat Lewis Hamilton despite leading both Friday practice sessions at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Finn finished the day two-tenths clear of his teammate on the timesheet, but the reality may be different as Lewis was on a quicker lap than Bottas before ruining it with a lock-up at Turn 13.

Also notable was Bottas' struggle in the final sector, where he was seen power-sliding through the final corners on more than one occasion.

“It seemed so, especially on the low fuel runs I always had some sort of problem with the rear end, so there’s something to look at there,” Bottas said on if that was the difference between himself and Hamilton. “It was more like rally-style driving than F1-style driving and I’m not sure that’s the fastest way around.

“As I said earlier there’s still a lot of time left on the table and, also, set-up wise, sector one and sector two feel pretty good actually, but in sector three the car is still a bit too nervous and if we can get it right I’m sure there’s lap time there too.”

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For Valtteri, this weekend is another opportunity to end the rot against his Mercedes teammate, who has claimed pole seven times in nine races and currently sits 55 points clear in the Drivers' standings.

"It has been pretty close in terms of pace between Lewis and me,” Bottas said. “It’s just getting everything to click on those sessions that really, really matter, pushing hard.

“I’m trying to get to perfection but, obviously, Lewis has had the upper by but by small margins. As I said after the last race, it’s just a matter of time before those things eventually click and I will get those poles and wins again. I believe in that, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing now and try to be better than two weeks ago.”

And if there is one circuit where the 31-year-old can do that, it's Sochi where he has usually had the upper hand on Hamilton during their years together at Mercedes.

“It’s a race with definitely good memories,” he said, having won his first GP there in 2017.

Bot Win 2017

“The first [win] is always pretty special, you never forget that, and always good memories from here – actually, since the beginning, when we started to race here, it’s normally been a pretty strong race for me, even with Williams. It’s a good track.”

Perhaps another little motivation is the opportunity to deny Hamilton the chance to tie Michael Schumacher's record of 91 F1 wins at the first attempt.

“Obviously it’s big numbers we’re talking about. Of course, as a kid watching Michael and all the great heroes of the sport – it’s a big number,” he said.

“But obviously, I’ll try to make that not to happen this weekend. I’m here to win.”