Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Bottas thought he had pole position when he crossed the line

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas thought he’d done enough to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix when he crossed the line at the end of his final flying lap in qualifying.

After the first runs in Q3 the Mercedes driver was 59 thousandths of a second slower than team mate Lewis Hamilton, who was on provisional pole position.

On his final run, Bottas set the quickest time through the middle part of the lap and the live lap time information on his steering wheel display indicated he was ahead of Hamilton as he neared the finishing line. However he lost his slender advantage over his team mate on the run to the line.

“Shit, on my dash I was one tenth up,” he said to his team after being confirmed in second place on the grid.

Several drivers failed to set quicker lap times on their final runs in Q3 as the track conditions did not improve as expected. “It felt like they didn’t really improve for the second run,” said Bottas after qualifying.

“I thought I was going to improve because when I crossed the line I was one-tenth up from my previous time. But then obviously it went to zero. Maybe I just covered a bit more distance, that’s how the time delta works.

“I thought it was a bit better the second run but it wasn’t. I don’t think the track really changed.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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8 comments on “Bottas thought he had pole position when he crossed the line”

  1. So the curse of the FP3-fastest driver has ended just when Bottas was to get pole.

  2. That was very interesting Qualifying! Until the very end the winner was not clear. So close also among Ferrari and Alpha Tauri drivers.

  3. TBH I thought he’d done enough too. Did Hamilton know and ease off or was he really 4 tenths down on his second run??

    1. He was really 4 tenths down. Most drivers said the track was slower for their second runs. Bottas’ second Q3 lap was probably better than Hamilton’s first in terms of extracting everything available but conditions weren’t in his favour by that point.

      1. Hamilton didn’t even open his DRS on the final straight

      2. @sparkyamg It looked a good lap, the aerial shots were really impressive. It’s been a bit of a feature, though, of Hamilton keeping something in the tyres for the last sector of the qualifying lap, while VB sets faster times in sectors 1 and 2.

  4. Bottas has really improved his Q3’s lately. Now he is more often able to go quicker on his second run.

  5. So did everyone, but his last sector performance was second to Lewis every lap.

    Purple, purple, nowhere.

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