Valtteri Bottas could only muster a third place start for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, which he considers a consequence of the engine change undertaken earlier in the day.
Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team dominated practice on Friday but were upstaged by Scuderia Ferrari in Saturday’s session.
And although team-mate Lewis Hamilton marginally achieved pole position, Bottas believes that Ferrari showed more of their hand today than they had previously suggested.
“For most of the weekend we’ve had the edge on Ferrari but in Q3 they raised their game,” he said. “For me starting the day with the engine change and moving back to the old engine, I was always going to be on the back foot.
“I really struggled through qualifying with the rear stability of the car, so it was difficult to find a good rhythm.”
Bottas has been open about his high expectations since joining the team at the start of the season and was obviously disappointed to have missed out on the front row. But he was happy with how things turned out given the circumstance, and managed to keep the one Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen behind.
“It wasn’t one of my best qualifying sessions but I’m happy with the job that the team has done,” he continued. “You could see Lewis was very strong and quick today.”
He is at least confident that third can still prove fruitful, and with his taste of a win in Sochi, he will be eager to secure another strong finish and cement his place in the championship battle.
“It’s a shorter run down to Turn 1 than in Sochi, but we’ve seen in the past that you can make positions from the second row,” he added. “I’ve done some good things from P3 before.
“Everything is still wide open. We’re happy with the race pace and upbeat for tomorrow.”