Valtteri Bottas: “Thought We’d Be Fighting For Pole”

by Craig Venn

A disappointed Valtteri Bottas is looking to Pirelli‘s Soft compound tyre to rescue his and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s weekend after being thoroughly beaten by Scuderia Ferrari in qualifying for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

Bottas will start from third place for 2018’s third race of the year after qualifying over half-a-second behind pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel. The Finn concedes that Scuderia Ferrari appear to have the better car in China but will hope to utilise his tyre strategy to beat them in the race.

“We came here thinking we’d be fighting for pole position but unfortunately that was out of reach.

“It was a pretty straightforward qualifying and it felt like I got everything out of the car. Maybe we didn’t get the tyres absolutely perfect for the lap but I don’t think it would have been enough for us to beat the Ferraris.

“That’s particularly disappointing because the gap to them is quite big. We definitely have work to do but tomorrow is a different day. Today it was really windy and cold, tomorrow it should be nice and sunny.

“We’ve been looking better on the harder compounds and we will start the race on the Soft, so maybe we can use that to our advantage. It’s a long race ahead and, as we saw last weekend, it will be close.”

Bottas led Mercedes’ challenge at the last race in Bahrain but was unable to overtake Vettel on the final lap for the lead. The Finn is more optimistic of his overtaking chances at the wide Shanghai International Circuit.

“On paper, this track is easier for overtaking than Bahrain, so hopefully tomorrow we can make up for what we lost today.”

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