‘Even in a bad car you get opportunities’ – Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas believes he can still show what he’s capable of despite Williams suffering a major slump in form this year.

The team which won the Spanish Grand Prix last year has only scored a single point in ten races so far in 2013.

Bottas said the poor form of the FW35 “was a surprise for everyone in the team”.

“No one expected it,” he told Motorsport Monday.

However he believes he can still do justice to his ability in an uncompetitive car: “Maybe it’s not as easy as in a good car because people follow the drivers outside the top ten a bit less,” he said.

“But moments like qualifying in Canada in those difficult conditions, we got everything together and I managed to do well. Even in a bad car you always get one or two opportunities to show what you can do.”

Bottas said his third place on the grid in Montreal was “down to the team effort”.

“I also managed to get a very good lap in when it really mattered. The conditions were changing all the time. I didn’t make any mistakes but the team did such a good job with the set-up and timing.”

He added his feedback from Williams has been good so far: “For me the main thing is that the team knows how well I’m doing. They really know because they see all the data.”

“So far I’ve only heard positive things. With this car that we have I think they’ve been happy with my performance. It’s still my first season in Formula One and I’m still getting better and better.”

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.