Valtteri Bottas has claimed that an overall lack of grip hindered his performance in Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Bottas could only manage fifth around the Circuit de Monaco, two places and two-tenths of a second away from his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn said that he was unsurprised by the blistering pace shown by Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and polesitter Daniel Ricciardo, echoing Hamilton’s verdict that the Monaco track does not suit the Mercedes package. However, Bottas did say that the team found in an increase in performance and car balance from Thursday’s Free Practice sessions.
“Today was tricky,” said Bottas. “We expected the Red Bull to be very fast around here and we also knew that it was going to be one of the most difficult tracks for our car.
“We improved the set-up from Thursday and the car felt much better to drive.”
Bottas told of a lack of grip given out by the resurfaced Monaco track, even on the new hyper-soft tyres. Both Mercedes cars experimented with the ultra-soft compound in Qualifying 2 but, fearing an early elimination, opted to go with the field and stay on the softest rubber.
“The main limitation was overall grip rather than balance,” he explained. “I was sliding around quite a bit.
“I don’t think I could have gone any quicker as I feel like I would have ended up in the wall. We tried to get through Q2 with the ultra-soft, but we realised we didn’t have enough pace for that.”
Despite his slightly disappointing grid position, Bottas remains hopeful that the unpredictability posed by the streets of the principality can work in his and Mercedes’ favour tomorrow.
“We will start the race on the hyper-soft tomorrow which will be interesting,” he added.
“P5 is not ideal as it’s easier to start from the front row in Monaco, but we know anything can happen here.”