Valtteri Bottas was chomping at the bit to achieve his first front row start at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, but the Finn unfortunately missed out on second place at the Chinese Grand Prix by one thousandths of a second. That’s just 5.91cm.
And in true Bottas fashion, he will be looking at where that mini margin was lost. But in comparison to Australia, he has at least reduced the deficit between himself and the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s a real shame Sebastian managed to get between us,” he said. “I think last time it was a couple of hundredths and now it’s a thousandth.
“Around a lap here there are a quite a lot of places you can lose one thousandth of a second, so I will look to see where improvements can be made as always.
“But anyway, the race is tomorrow and we are first and third on the grid as a team, which is a good place to start.”
Tomorrow’s race is expected to be a wet one. During pre-season testing, it was the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen who appeared strongest on a damp track, though it was far from saturated. That certainly suggests that tomorrow’s race will once again prove to be a duel between the Prancing Horse and Silver Arrows.
“Anything can happen with the weather too,” he continued. “Lewis was strong today and Ferrari were very quick too. We were always expecting a close fight and I think it will be the same tomorrow.”
His impressive time of 1:31.865 was achieved despite the near-absence of practice on Friday, with free practice 3 the only opportunity for the team to gather enough data for both qualifying and the race.
“Thanks again to the team, who did a great job in the short amount of practice time we had today to get the car set up well,” he added. “It was really enjoyable to drive. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”