Bottas blames Q3 yellow flag for missing out on pole
Valtteri Bottas says that the yellow flag triggered by Renault’s Esteban Ocon in the final moments of qualifying cost him a shot of taking pole position for this weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix.
Bottas had been fastest of anyone throughout all three practice sessions at Mugello, and remained quickest in the first round of qualifying.
But his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton pipped him in Q2 by 0.013s, and he was just 0.059s again after the first run of the final pole shoot-out round.
Hamilton was unable to improve his time with his second and last flying lap of Q3, but Bottas was prevented from going faster in his run when local waved yellows came out for an incident involving Ocon.
- Hamilton wins knife-edge Mugello pole over Bottas
“I still had more time in there, and I was just waiting to get it all right,” Bottas explained after the chequered flag.
“Run one was okay but not perfect, so I was looking forward to it but I just didn’t get the opportunity,” he lamented.
“There was still something to be found, and I was confident of myself but there was no chance with the double yellow in the second runs.
“In the end I should have been stronger first run, his first run was better than mine, so that’s it.
“For sure it’s disappointing, because the speed has been good all weekend.”
It leaves Bottas starting from second row on the grid for the fourth race in succession. But even though it had been widely predicted that overtaking would be a problem at Mugello, he felt that there would still be every chance to attack Hamilton in the race.
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“Coming into the weekend we thought it was going to be nearly impossible,” he admitted.
“But what we experienced in the practice sessions, the track is so wide and there are so many different lines you can take in the corners so you can kind of avoid the dirty air in those corners.
“I hope so,” he added. “Again, long run into turn 1 and I hope the head wind stays for the race, because that would be a nice benefit for me, to get the tow.”
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