Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas: “This track offers the chance to overtake and we do have a very good car”

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Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport - Spa-Francorchamps
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Valtteri Bottas admitted it was a strange Qualifying session for him as he went into it knowing he would be starting the Belgian Grand Prix from the back of the grid following an engine change and grid penalty, but he was still able to get into the top ten on Saturday afternoon.

The Finn said the initial plan was just to get a lap time on the board in Q1 and sit out the rest of the session, but he went out in Q2 in a bid to try and aid Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton with a tow down the straight in Q3, but the plan went out the window when the rain came in that session, with Bottas not venturing on track at all.

As Bottas was able to advance into Q3 by using the Soft compound tyre, the compound he was going to pick had it not made it through to the top ten, he feels he has not had his Sunday plans ruined.

“This afternoon felt a little strange – you take a very different approach to qualifying when you know that the result doesn’t really matter because you have to start from the [back of the] grid anyway,” said Bottas.  “Our initial plan was actually to only go out in Q1.

“We changed the plan shortly before the session, thinking that I could give Lewis a bit of a slip stream, but then it started to rain in Q3 so we abandoned the idea in the end. Thankfully, it didn’t do any harm to our original plan as we qualified on the Soft tyre which was the compound we wanted to start the race on anyway.”

Despite starting at the back of the field, Bottas says the Spa circuit should offer plenty of opportunities to advance forward on Sunday and he is looking to enjoy himself as he fights through the field.

“It’s pure enjoyment to drive on this track, so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow and I’m confident that there will be possibilities coming up,” said Bottas.

“This track offers the chance to overtake and we do have a very good car around here, so I look forward to the challenge and I’ll try to have a little fun as well.”

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