Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Bottas doesn’t understand how Hamilton found more time in Q3

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas said he “doesn’t get” why he was unable to keep pace with team mate Lewis Hamilton in the final stage of qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes drivers were closely matched up to that point. While Hamilton had an eventual start to qualifying, almost dropping out in Q2, Bottas said his session went smoothly.

“For me, there was not so much going on actually. It was pretty straightforward from my side. I think I was quite fortunate that all the happenings didn’t really affect me.

“Q1, Q2 from my side it was pretty good. The car was feeling good and the pace seemed to be there, unlike in Q3.”

Bottas was able to improve his lap time from Q2 to Q3, but Hamilton made a much bigger step. He drew six-tenths of a second clear of his team mate, and Max Verstappen also managed to out-qualify Bottas.

“Q3 was a tricky one,” said Bottas. “In the first run, I didn’t feel my tyres were ready. Out of the last corner, starting the lap, I had a big snap so I lost already a couple of tenths on the run down to turn two. At turn two I had massive oversteer and the tyres only came in really towards the end of the lap.

“So I was just waiting for the second run then. There was no mistakes as such. Turn two maybe a tiny lock-up, went a bit wide.

“But to be honest, I don’t really get it, why I couldn’t match Lewis’s times in Q3. It didn’t feel like I was gaining much grip from previous sessions. I think even Q2 felt better. So a few question marks for me what really happened.”

Bottas joked that given the long run to the first braking zone at the start in Sochi, he might be better off starting from the second row of the grid: “Maybe I was just playing games and wanted to start third…”

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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...
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...

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50 comments on “Bottas doesn’t understand how Hamilton found more time in Q3”

  1. Oh poor Valterri. Its because you are slow!!

    1. +1 it’s so obvious

    2. Hmm, he is normally within few thousandhs/tenths margin from HAM. I wouldn’t call it slow, without blaming also 6 time WDC slow. One off day in Q3 doesn’t change that.

      1. It’s all relative off course. But whether it is qualifying or race, he will never be able to put the pressure on HAM for a long time. Would be so cool to see those two in a real fight, will never happen.

  2. The guy was a mere couple of tenths faster than Ricciardo on Q2, kept basically the same time in Q3 and thought that it was the limit?

    Bottas knows he won’t win this but now he’s looking in despair already. Completely beaten and cracked.

    1. When you are stupid, everyone besides you know that you are stupid. Its the same with Bottas. Everyone besides him know that he slow, except he himself

      1. Bottas himself knows that generally in qualifying, he is certainly not slow, so I don’t quite get some of these comments. Today he messed up, but in most sessions this year, he has been closer to the best qualifier in history than most of the grid have been to their team mates…. So in qualifying, the majority of the time, nobody can call him slow given who he’s up against.

        1. Haven seen him getting closer to Fangio, not even Senna

      2. He’s an F1 driver…on MERIT. So he is not “slow”. People want a HAM v ROS battle but let’s be real… ROS played a lot of his game off track to unsettle lewis. Bottas wont do that and fair play to him. Lewis has beaten every one of his teammates in their time together. Why would BOT be any different?

        1. Well he is slow in comparison with Hamilton.. that’s what people here mean… Not that he is slower than you and me

          1. Bottas’ qualifying average against Hamilton this year (before today) was less than a tenth & a half… four of those were less than half a tenth of a second behind Lewis on pole. That’s not “slow” by any measure. Some of you are just desperate to see Lewis get beaten & unfairly slate Bottas for not granting your wishes.

        2. Fair play to him? He’s a racing driver – he should be employing eveything that is within the rules to win. This is F1, not tiddlywinks. This is exactly the reason why he’ll never win a world title.

        3. ROS played a lot of his game off track to unsettle lewis.

          People always trot out this so called games that Rosberg played off track, but what exactly did he do?

          I know on track, he crashed into his teammate couple of times, was penalized for it, and was also won less races. But exactly what games did he actually play to unsettle Lewis?

          Throughout their time together at Mercedes, the only time i saw Lewis unsettled was when he was the only Mercedes driver to repeatedly suffer up to 7 engine related issues, and a DNF in that season.

          But that had nothing to do with Rosberg. Or did it?

          1. Totally agree Gigantor,

            If it wasn’t for a mistake earlier in his racing career and Rosbergs Merc having “NO DNFs “ the year he was help to win his one and only championship Lewis would be working on his 9th Championship. What would the Lewis haters be saying now if that had occurred. (lol)

    2. Kept the same time? Bottas set 1’32.405 in Q2 and 1’31.867 in Q3. I’d call that an improvement.

  3. That’s called Talent!

  4. The happy wanderer.

  5. I don’t think he was slow…It was clear he made a few mistakes in his last lap which I suspect is either due to cracking under pressure or unfortunate mistakes….at the end of the day it cost him. Fingers cross he wins tomorrow…I/we really need him to win to keep fully engaged. It’s Sochi after all.

    Danny Ric! Well done!

  6. VB was three quarters of a second off in FP3. I suspect it’s more why he didn’t make a step across the whole day than Q3. Awful Saturday for VB.

  7. I think Karun Chandhok explains it well. Lewis tried to pushed his car more and when the track had no grip because of less junior races, Lewis kept overshot during practices.

    The track kept getting better but Bottas mind set stayed on Friday and think everything is getting better. He’s slow and not so smart. Far worse than Albon and Ocon.

    1. Bottas is definitely better than Albon and Ocon. Albon in the second best car can’t finish in the top 4 regularly and Ocon is being embarassed by Ricciardo who we know was more than a match for Verstappen.

      1. who we know was more than a match for Verstappen.

        thats why he left..
        Well look at two important stats in F1.. the points in the last year and the quali results.. very telling.

    2. For sure worse than Albon.

      Albon has shown more racecraft against Hamilton in one year (Brazil and Austria) than Bottas has in his whole time at Mercedes. He’s never taken Hamilton on, never successfully lulled Hamilton into committing fouls like Albon did.

      Albon is quick and possesses great racecraft, but he’s just up against the quickest driver on the grid in Max Verstappen.

      1. You’re only saying he’s worse than albon because this is verstappen’s team mate. If verstappen’s team mate was kubica driving with one arm and qualifying last you’d say the same.

        You’re not fooling anyone, boy.

      2. Are you being paid by Red Bull or something. Rarely have I read more biased comments than yours. Ans it’s not just one, it’s all of them.

  8. Has Bottas not worked out he’s just the wingman by now?

    The team has been setup around Hamilton since 2013.

    That second race of 2013 Ross Brawn got on radio demanding that Bottas not pass Hamilton. Already team orders in effect in just his second race for Mercedes.

    By the way, Hamilton still hasn’t repaid Bottas for Russia 2018 so is it really 91 wins if he wins tomorrow?

    1. If that’s the case then Hamilton already beat Schumacher’s record considering all the wins Barrichello gifted him

    2. Brawn ordered Bottas not to pass Hamilton in 2013?

      1. Rosberg. Demanded Rosberg not pass Hamilton despite racing each other for position.

        Hamilton is team leader.

        1. I’m not sure 2016 agrees with you with regards Rosberg. Sorry.

    3. Has Schumacher repaid all the team orders wins he had specially during his Ferrari time? And what about his championships won due to on purpose crashes?

    4. Brawn did that in 2013 because the team made a Mistake and under fueled hamilton’s car and because hamilton was Saving fuel told Rosberg to back off.

      1. Interesting.. if they make a important mistake with the setup of Bottas car it does not count…
        and then… “Valtteri, this is James”
        sigh..

        1. This happened at the second race of that year, and different from now, they needed the result as podiums were still rare. Bottas? Won the first race both last year and this year. Yet you have to mention things that happened way later in the championships and when he was already out of contention for the WDC. Keep trying. One day i hope you’ll achieve what you’re trying to do here.

          1. Even less reason to do it being the second race of the season.

            Why wouldn’t you let the faster Rosberg go into third and chase down the Red Bulls?

            What if one of the Red Bull’s made a mistake. Rosberg could have been there to jump up a place.

            Instead Brawn got on the radio and demanded that Rosberg stay behind the slower Hamilton.

            Favouritism plain and simple and for no reason but to give the team leader in Hamilton a podium in his second race for Mercedes.

            No wonder Rosberg got out of there after winning his championship.

          2. No wonder he signed a 2 year contract extension BEFORE winning that championship.
            You don’t know at all what you’re on about.

  9. I think max will lose to both Bottas and Lewis in the race tomorrow. His big mouth won’t be enough to hold the mercs back in the Sochi straights.

    1. Of course he won’t. He’s in the 5th best car. He’ll go backwards at a rate of knots.

      1. Constantly trotting out that the Red Bull is the 5th fastest car will not make it true. Rather, it simply confirms a sort of neurosis.

        1. The Mercedes, Racing Point, Renault and McLaren all have better speed this weekend.

          Therefore 5th best car.

          You could even argue that the Alpha Tauri is quicker.

          Red Bull are struggling it’s just the genius of Max keeping them relevant.

    2. its nice to see fans. Being a fan of Lewis is great. But why do you have to belittle the results of other drivers to make your driver look good.
      Its a bit sad honestly..
      But thats the life of a troll i guess ;)

  10. I would love to see Russell at Mercedes next year (if it could somehow happen) and I believe Hamilton would probably want this too for his own reputation. Driving against nothing but Bottas to be honest isn’t doing him many favours as he takes over Schumacher’s records. I would definitely like something different before 2022, it’s getting a little tiresome.

    1. Are you confusing your opinion of Hamilton with his reputation in general?

    2. Hamilton’s main championship foes will be remembered as Rosberg and Bottas.

      In Hamilton’s second race for Mercedes, Brawn got on the radio and demanded Rosberg stay behind third place Hamilton rather than chase down the Red Bulls in first and second.

      Hamilton still owes Bottas for moving over at Sochi 2018. Is it really 91 wins tomorrow if he still owes Bottas.

      Schumacher only had Barrichello as competition in 2002 and 2004.

      But 1994 it was the faster Williams, 1995 the faster Williams, 2000 the faster McLaren, 2001 he had an edge but was fighting the Williams and McLaren, 2003 very even car performance fighting the McLaren and Williams.

      Schumacher was up against the might of other teams and drivers conspiring to destroy him.

      Hamilton’s had Toto and James in his corner as he fights drivers on the other side of the garage earning a fraction of what he does.

      1. Lol, how many wins does Schumacher owe to Barrichello then ? If you’re discounting those then Hamilton is already the leader by some margin.

        1. Schumacher gave back Austria 2002 at Indy 2002.

          Schumacher also moved over for Irvine when he came back from his broken leg at Malaysia and Japan 99.

          Irvine owes him at least one win.

  11. If he hasn’t worked out by now that he’s not allowed to be faster than Lewis, he never will.
    Clearly the team will help him comply if he fails to do so himself.

  12. So a few question marks for me what really happened

    Is it me being suspicious, Bottas being non-native in English, or is he hinting at something more, ahem, sinister happening with the time difference? He seems to have this air of insinuation in many of his responses after defeat (which is fairly common after all). Not sure if it’s a bit of paranoia on his part or just a slightly odd way of expressing himself.

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