Valtteri Bottas’ tough weekend at the Marina Bay Street Circuit continued into qualifying as the Finn could only qualify sixth on the grid, 1.319 seconds down on the pole time of Sebastian Vettel, and almost seven-tenths of a second behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers have been struggling this weekend in Singapore, but Bottas seems to be unable to match his team-mate throughout, as was shown by the large gap between them in each of the three segments of the qualifying hour.
“So far, it’s been a difficult weekend for us,” said Bottas. “We’re clearly third quickest around here, that’s just not enough.
“We’ve been chasing the set-up of the car and made big changes yesterday and today, but we still haven’t found the optimal set-up. You can see it in the lap times that I can’t really drive the car with the set-up that we’ve got.
“We were a bit surprised by how big the gaps to Red Bull and Ferrari are. Two weeks ago, we had a great weekend in Monza and now we are really struggling. The result today highlights that we still have issues producing enough downforce and mechanical grip on a track like this; it’s an area we clearly need to work on.”
Bottas knows Sunday will also be a struggle for the team, and says that he will need some luck to be able to get onto the podium.
“We know our pace alone isn’t enough to score a podium tomorrow, so we need a clean race, a good strategy and bit of luck as well,” said Bottas.