Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Bottas “slightly disappointed in myself” despite pole, impressed by Russell

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas said he was disappointed not to improve on his final flying lap in qualifying despite taking pole position for tomorrow’s race.

The Mercedes driver said not being able to run in the slipstream of another car on his final lap cost him time.

“The main thing [is] there was no cars ahead of me so no tow at all,” he said. “I could see and feel that I was not so fast on the straights.

“The corners were quite OK still, I would say I didn’t quite nail turn seven and eight, and maybe turn 10 exit. It is a tricky circuit to get everything right with the twisty sections and everything. [I’m] just happy it was enough for pole.”

George Russell, who has replaced Lewis Hamilton at the team this weekend, ended qualifying just two-hundredths of a second behind Bottas. The newcomer also headed both practice sessions on Friday.

“Yesterday was quite a tricky day for me personally but today was a lot better,” said Bottas. “The car felt more complete and more driveable so I could really build on it lap by lap in practice three and then with a good feeling in the qualifying.

“I’m just slightly disappointed in myself at the end with the lap I didn’t improve at the end. I was also the only car without any tow, the lap was not that great so I couldn’t improve on the last run.”

Bottas said it was difficult to find time around the short, 53-second lap, but he was impressed by the job Russell did.

“On a track like this, you can’t really make a big difference so the gaps are really small as you can see,” he said.

“But I have to say George really did a good job. He was really building up to it and I could see the progress in qualifying. So I’m really happy for us as a team that we can be one-two on the grid. It’s another big achievement for us.”

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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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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7 comments on “Bottas “slightly disappointed in myself” despite pole, impressed by Russell”

  1. Should be a good race top four cars are close, although I doubt Leclerc will be able to hold on the the top three after a few laps. Perez should be able to get up to challenge, I’m a bit disappointed in Ricciardo/Renault as I’m sure they are with their spot on the grid.
    But it’s Mercs race to loss and I wonder if the pressure of being team leader will get to Bottas.

    1. Both Merc drivers are probably under a lot of stress at the moment. If Bottas loses to Russell in a straight fight, it will be the end of him. If Russell cracks under the pressure, he may get delayed moving up.

      Having said that, it’s such a stupid track layout that anything can happen. It will either be a parade or a nightmare.

      1. They’ll be catching the back markers before you can blink, possibly lapping them several times over. We should see plenty of over takes, but this might mean being held up , or even DNS trains again.

  2. Off course he would be disappointed. He did not improve when the guys behind him did do that. Even though it proved to be enough, he would surely have wanted to be on pole with a bigger margin. Just like any driver would.

  3. Bottas looked rattled from FP1, and always the safe lines out of 8 and the last corner in Q3 too

    1. @balue Indeed he lost a lot of time on that last corner alone. He was lucky to get pole, but then he’s not up against Hamilton who beat him by 3 tenths in the previous Bahrain Q3

  4. I thought I heard that Bottas had the choice of being first or second MB car this weekend, if that is true then complaining about lack of slipstream is a sideshow.

    I’m sure that he didn’t choose to go first out of the goodness of his heart to help Russell out.

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