Despite a degree of mystery surrounding Lewis Hamilton's sudden slump in form at the Russian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas says he understands the reasons why he had the edge over his Mercedes teammate in Sochi.
Bottas took the first win of his career in Russia after a breakthrough weekend in which he qualified nearly 0.5s quicker than Hamilton and finished the race over 36 seconds ahead of his teammate. Ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, the team admitted there was no quick fix for Hamilton's issues while Bottas is confident his upturn in form was not just related to his historically strong form in Russia.
"I can't say it was only one thing," he said. "In Formula One if you are quick it's because of a lot of small things. I always felt very comfortable in Sochi but I don't put it all down to that.
"I feel I've been progressing race by race, I felt Russia was my best weekend so far this year in terms of my own performance no matter the track.
"It's a unique circuit, especially with the last sector how you manage the tyres and how you set-up the car, so there are things we [Lewis and I] were doing differently. I've looked into every single thing we did in Russia, what I could do better, what I did good too and I do understand all of the points why there was a difference. Now I try to keep the good momentum."
Bottas said Mercedes big challenge this weekend in Spain is ensuring the car is quick on Pirelli's harder tyre compounds.
"I think here qualifying is very important, but we can't rely on qualifying only. It's a long race and if we are lacking in pure pace then Ferrari may get opportunities to get us through strategy. If they have more pace, one way or another, at some races, they'll get ahead, even though it might be difficult to overtake.
"So we're focusing a lot more on getting the car better set-up with all the compounds, because we feel that's a big area where we can improve. But we're still mindful that we don't want to take off much of our qualifying pace, which has been, on average, to our advantage this year. It's a fine line between how much how much we lose to gain on consistency, but we're doing our best.