Valtteri Bottas is hoping that starting on the longer-lasting Soft tyres, rather than the faster, higher-degradation Super Soft tyres, will improve his chances on a track that can be difficult to pass on.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver qualified in second, though has a five-place grid penalty to serve due to a gearbox change. This, coupled with his with his lack of qualifying pace compared to teammate Lewis Hamilton made it a difficult day for the Finn.
“It was a tricky day. I had a bit of an off in FP3 and the car was damaged. But the guys did a great job getting the car back together, everything worked perfectly.
“It’s been a few tough races, I’ve been off the pace quite a lot. So now I’m at least a bit closer and with the limited running we had today, it really wasn’t too bad.
“But it’s a shame to lose the position due to a grid penalty. The car has been feeling really different this weekend compared to last week. I was able to trust it more and drive a bit more naturally which always makes the result better.“
Whilst qualifying may be finished, Bottas says that starting on the Soft tyres and doing a longer initial stint may improve his chances during tomorrow’s race.
“I’m going to start on the Soft tyre, so I think we have a chance to try a different strategy to all the other cars around. So hopefully we can gain a few places as overtaking is very difficult on this track.“
Bottas has been outscored by Hamilton in every race since the Hungarian Grand Prix (when Hamilton had more pace but returned the position to Hamilton) and hinted that a lack of self-belief could have been hindering his performance.
“I should never lose self-confidence; it’s the key in this sport. I just need to carry on, keep chipping away and learning from everything.“