Valtteri Bottas admits that he is disappointed following qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix. The Finn will line up in fourth place, sharing the second row with teammate Lewis Hamilton. Bottas' best lap was a 1:16.958, which was just under half a second down on pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas has struggled since the return after the summer break, with Hungary being the last time he's out qualified Hamilton. In Mexico, Bottas felt that he had pace that was good enough for pole position, but was mystified by the speed of Ferrari and Red Bull in Q3.
"Our qualifying wasn't good enough; we thought we could fight for the pole," he reflected. "We definitely struggled a bit compared to at least one of the Ferraris and one of the Red Bulls, for some reason they found quite a bit of lap time for Q3."
After the session, both he and Max Verstappen were called to the stewards, after Bottas felt that the Dutchman impeded his first run in Q3. However, no penalty was handed to Verstappen and Bottas now says his focus is solely on getting the optimum result in the race.
"The incident with Max ruined my first lap in Q3; I just couldn't get back to the normal line for braking. However, I'm still optimistic for the race. We had good long runs yesterday and we'll have a strong car tomorrow. As a team, we're starting from the second row, and it's such a long run into Turn 1 here. Hopefully we can have a good start and use the slipstream to our advantage. It should be an interesting race."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing