Valtteri Bottas expects the Monaco Grand Prix to be the toughest challenge of his Formula 1 rookie season with Williams.
The Finn, who has made an impressive start to his F1 career despite failing to score points in an uncompetitive Williams, has never raced in Monaco. GP3 did not run in Monaco when Bottas won the championship in 2011 and he did not drive on Friday morning last year when he was reserve driver for Williams. Still, he remains upbeat about his chances and is relishing what awaits him.
Asked if Monaco would be his hardest weekend of the year, Bottas replied: "I think so, because the track is so challenging. To get the perfect lap time in qualifying, [this] is the most difficult track of the season and qualifying is the most important here.
"It's tricky, but I feel very well-prepared."
Although he has never driven in Monaco, Bottas believes that his experience of street circuit racing in Formula 3 in Macau will be an advantage. The Finn raced there from 2009-'11, finishing third in the '10 running of the Macau Grand Prix.
"It is very tricky and has a lot of similarities in some places," said Bottas of Macau. "When I went to Macau for the first time, there were no problems learning the circuit or with the walls or anything."
Bottas has completed significant mileage around Monaco in the Williams simulator. This, combined with watching onboard footage and reviewing data from last year, means that he feels well-prepared.
"I know the way around quite well and should be aware of all the bumps and the curbs. I just need to build up in practice and try to find the limits as soon as possible."
Bottas added that he had sought advice from his mentor, 1998 Monaco Grand Prix winner Mika Hakkinen and will continue to do so during the weekend.