Valtteri Bottas has described a front row lockout as the perfect result after his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team finished first and second in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Lewis Hamilton clinched pole once again at the Hungaroring, which is also the sixth pole position he has achieved at the circuit, but he will be joined on the front row by his team-mate, with Bottas setting a lap time of 1:35.918, 0.260 seconds off the pole time.
Bottas admitted the result was probably not on the cards if conditions were dry, but it was up to him and Mercedes to get the job done with conditions favouring them, with both Scuderia Ferrari drivers behind them, Kimi Räikkönen ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
“On the one hand, today has been somewhat disappointing, as I wanted to get pole,” said Bottas. “On the other hand, I’m really happy for the team, a front row lockout is the perfect result for us. This result would have been really difficult in the dry; but the wet conditions gave us the opportunity to be better today than Ferrari and Red Bull.
“It’s so tricky to get it right in the wet – it’s not easy to stay on track, let alone be on the limit, trying to squeeze everything out of the car. It’s so tough if you know you only have one lap, but today everything just came together. The team did an exceptional job with the timing and the tyre choices. As a team, we absolutely nailed it today.”
With conditions forcing Q2 to be run in wet conditions, it means all drivers will have a free choice of which tyre to start the race on, and Bottas says a lot of throught will go into their decision overnight.
“We now need to decided on the race strategy; there’s obvious two options for the start tyre – either the UltraSofts or the Softs,” said Bottas. “We will analyse the situation carefully and then make our choice.
“It’s great to start from first and second at a track like this where it is so difficult to overtake. We will give it everything to keep the Ferrari behind us and I’ll push hard to gain one position. It is going to be a good fight tomorrow.”