Bottas predicts Sepang challenge

Tuesday 25th March 2014

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Bottas predicts Sepang challenge

Bottas predicts Sepang challenge

Valtteri Bottas expects this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix to be "a real challenge" for each team on the Formula One grid.

Williams performed well during pre-season but had an indifferent weekend at the season-opening race in Australia earlier this month.

Bottas finished fifth but could perhaps have challenged for a higher position had he not suffered a puncture, while Felipe Massa was forced to retire after an incident in the first corner.

Although Williams head to Malaysia this week full of confidence that they can produce better results, Bottas knows that the heat and humidity in Kuala Lumpur will make it extremely difficult for everyone to get their cars performing optimally.

"Malaysia will be a real challenge for us, but also something the other teams will have to deal with too," Bottas told crash.net before this weekend's Malaysian GP.

"Cooling will be a major factor as the temperatures are so high, there is also still a lot to learn about the new power units, so this heat adds to this learning curve.

"It could be the hottest race this season and having it at the start of the season when people are trying to develop what they have isn't the easiest of tasks.

"Physically for the drivers it isn't easy; we have to work hard in the off-season so we are ready for times like this. The track itself is very nice; it has some great high speed sections which are my favourite parts of the circuit."

Massa agreed with his team-mate, adding that tyre degradation could be a key factor in deciding the outcome of the race.

"Malaysia is a nice place to race, it's a hot and humid race which makes it a physically tough one for the drivers," Massa said.

"The heat also has a big effect on the tyres and how quickly degradation happens. These extreme temperatures means Malaysia is less like any other circuit we will race at.

"When you go to Malaysia you can never count out the weather either, there is always the chance of rain, its heavy rain too, and this can happen at the end of nearly every day. All of these factors mean the race is always exciting from a fans point of view but these changes are tough for the drivers. I'm looking forward to having a good race there."

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