Valtteri Bottas says he cannot be happy with fourth on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix, especially when his best Q3 lap was almost seven-tenths of a second behind team-mate and polesitter Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver was disappointed not to find the same kind of improvement in the final segment of Qualifying around the Marina Bay Street Circuit as some of the other front runners, and ultimately found himself down on the second row of the grid behind Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.
“P4 is obviously not ideal, I can’t be happy with today’s result,” said Bottas. “Everything was going pretty well from FP3 all the way up to Q2, but then the others could find big chunks in Q3 and I couldn’t, I just didn’t really feel the track improvement.
“Lewis put in a great lap, but seven tenths is obviously a big gap, so I will need to have a look and analyse what exactly the issue was.”
Bottas will be pushing hard to get ahead of Vettel during the race, although he acknowledges his best opportunities will come at the start and during the pit stop cycle, as overtaking around the Marina Bay track is notoriously difficult to achieve.
“The long-run times between Ferrari, Red Bull and us looked fairly comparable, so it’s a shame I couldn’t qualify higher and attack from the front row,” said the Finn. “We are definitely more competitive here than we were last year.
“The car has been improved and we also chose the right set-up direction. So I’m optimistic for tomorrow; it’s a new day and at least one Ferrari will start behind me. We still have a long race ahead of us and I will push hard to try and get ahead of Sebastian.
“With three teams in the mix, everything is possible. It’s difficult to overtake on this track, so both the start and the strategy will decide who wins this race.”