Bottas confident Williams is yet to reach its peak

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Valtteri Bottas is confident that Williams is yet to reach its peak despite producing an incredible turnaround to return to the fight at the front in F1 this year.

Last year, the team scored just five points in the whole of the season, leaving it ninth in the constructors’ come the end of the year.

In 2014 though, things have been very different, with Bottas and teammate Felipe Massa racking up 135 points in total so far, putting Williams in third place. With its strongest circuits still to come, it could get better still for the British team.

Although he is yet to confirm where he will be driving in 2015, Bottas sees no reason to leave Williams despite speculation linking him with a drive at McLaren.

“It’s still too early to say anything,” Bottas explained in Belgium. “Personally, I don’t see a reason to look around at this moment. It’s too early to say, it’s better to wait for confirmation. Then we’ll speak when we have something to say.

“I really think this team is not at its peak yet. I really think the direction is right, and I’m confident that this team can still be better than what we have seen this year. I’m really confident here and wouldn’t mind continuing.”

Bottas also revealed that he has noticed an increase in recognition in his native Finland, after going back home for the summer break.

“You can see the difference. Everyone in Finland, they follow Formula 1 quite closely, and you see the difference. A lot of support, I have to say. Everything has been really positive.”

Bottas will be hoping to secure his fourth podium finish of the season this weekend in Belgium, and could even be in the mix for a race win if Williams makes up some ground on the Mercedes cars at the head of the field.

Sage Karam, Tony Kanaan fastest in Monday’s practice for Indy 500

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In the second-to-last practice session of the week, Sage Karam paced the 33 drivers qualified for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 on Monday.

Karam had a field-best speed of 226.461 mph, followed by Tony Kanan (225.123 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.820), Charlie Kimball (224.582) and Alexander Rossi (224.507).

Sixth through 10th fastest were Will Power (224.445), Helio Castroneves (224.368), Marco Andretti (224.148) and rookie Zachary Claman Demelo (224.91) and Scott Dixon (223.966).

Power and Castroneves ran the most laps of all drivers at 120 and 118, respectively.

Two other Team Penske drivers struggled to get speed out of their cars. Defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden was 28th-fastest (221.982 mph) and Simon Pagenaud, who was the slowest (220.902 mph) of the 33 cars on-track.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th-fastest with a best speed of 223.573 mph in a 100-lap effort.

Most drivers were in race trim or were testing things for Sunday’s Greatest Spectacle In Racing such as fuel mileage, chassis setup and more.

Rookie Matheus Leist missed most of the session with an apparent electrical problem that kept him to just 19 laps.

There was one incident of note during the 3 ½ hour session: IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens crashed coming out of Turn 2 during the first hour of practice.

Wickens appeared to skim the outside SAFER Barrier, went left and then violently turned hard back into the outside retaining wall.

MORE: Wickens wrecks during Indy 500 practice

The Honda-powered machine for the Canadian driver suffered heavy damage to the right side, particularly the right front tire and the right side of the front end.

There will be no further on-track activity for the Indy cars until Friday’s final practice to fine tune things for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

We’ll have the full practice speed chart, as well as What Drivers Said, shortly. Please check back soon.

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