Valtteri Bottas will start from fourth on the grid for the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday, but the Finn admitted to being disappointed not to have been fighting for pole position.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer ended up 0.470 seconds behind pole sitter Sebastian Vettel, but at least he was the closest he has been in Qualifying to team-mate Lewis Hamilton since the summer break came to an end, with the duo split by just 0.024 seconds.
Bottas felt Max Verstappen ruined his first lap in Q3, with the Red Bull Racing driver forcing him to run slightly off line in avoidance, but the stewards deemed no action was necessary.
“Our qualifying wasn’t good enough; we thought we could fight for the pole,” said Bottas. “We definitely struggled a bit compared to at least one of the Ferraris and one of the Red Bulls, for some reason they found quite a bit of lap time for Q3.
“The incident with Max ruined my first lap in Q3; I just couldn’t get back to the normal line for braking.”
Bottas remains optimistic for a podium on Sunday afternoon in Mexico, with the race pace of his W08 being strong in practice, with the Finn hoping to make progress at the start.
“However, I’m still optimistic for the race,” insisted Bottas. “We had good long runs yesterday and we’ll have a strong car tomorrow.
“As a team, we’re starting from the second row, and it’s such a long run into Turn 1 here. Hopefully we can have a good start and use the slipstream to our advantage. It should be an interesting race.”