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Bahrain will be a better benchmark for Williams

Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas thinks the Bahrain Grand Prix will be a better indicator of Williams' true pace than Australia's temporary Albert Park circuit.

Despite finishing ahead in the season opener Williams fears it has slipped behind Toro Rosso in the battle behind Mercedes and Ferrari for best of the rest. Unlike Australia, Bahrain's evening race is held on a permanent circuit with a more abrasive asphalt, something Bottas thinks will give Williams a clearer idea of where it stands.

"The Bahrain evening race is a really nice one," Bottas said. "I prefer it much more as an evening race. The track looks good and is just as nice to drive. It's a good track for racing and I got a decent result last year. It's quite a different kind of track to Melbourne, so it's going to be interesting to see where we are compared to the others; because it's more like a standard race track rather than the Melbourne street circuit. It will still only be the second race of the season, so I'm looking forward to it."

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds says the hotter temperatures and the unique conditions of the Bahrain circuit combine to make a difficult challenge for all the teams.

"The Bahrain International Circuit is quite tough in all respects. It's important to have good high-speed balance in the car and look after the rear tyres in particular. We will see much hotter conditions, and there is always a concern over wind and sand, which was a real factor in the early part of the weekend last year.

"Following the cooler Australian conditions, we will now see how our cooling systems stand up in the heat and what impact opening up these systems has on aerodynamic performance. The tyre choice shows a bit of variation as well with Ferrari and ourselves appearing to be going down a different route to Mercedes, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out over the weekend."