Whilst admitting fourth on the grid is not a satisfying result, Valtteri Bottas said it is not a complete disaster, with Scuderia Ferrari finally showing their pre-season form at the Sakhir International Circuit.
After a dominant display in the opening round of the season two weeks ago, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport driver Bottas comes into the weekend at the top of the World Championship standings for the first time in his career, but the German team has not been at the same kind of pace this weekend as Ferrari, who locked out the front row of the grid, Charles Leclerc grabbing his maiden Formula 1 pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas was happy with the progress Mercedes has made during this weekend to close the gap on the Ferrari’s, but ultimately, they were just out of reach in Qualifying, and he also qualified behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.066 seconds.
“P4 is not a very satisfying result, but it’s not a disaster either,” said Bottas. “I was only a few hundreds off of Lewis and I think Ferrari was just quicker today, so Pole was probably out of reach for us today.
“Ferrari showed strong pace throughout the weekend, but it didn’t really come as a surprise; they clearly found the solution to the issues they had in Melbourne. We made some good steps forward over the weekend, but they kept the upper hand.”
Bottas knows that Sunday is a different day and he feels the Mercedes race pace looked strong, so he believes they can take the fight to Ferrari.
“However, it’s the race that matters,” said the Finn. “Our race pace looked quite strong and I think we’re there or thereabout when it comes to the tyres, so the race should be exciting – I think we’re going to be in the fight tomorrow.”