Miscommunication between team and driver led to an unsatisfactory Qualifying performance from Valtteri Bottas, with the Finnish driver setting only the fourth fastest time when pole position was his target at the Red Bull Ring on Saturday.
The Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver will move up one spot to third on the grid thanks to a three-place grid penalty for his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, which came as a result of the Briton impeding Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Räikkönen during the early stages of Q1 at turn three.
Never-the-less, Bottas was displeased with the outcome of Qualifying, with his team saying he did not have time to back up and find a gap in the traffic only for it to come to light that he did have around twenty seconds to find a better position on the track.
This meant he was too close to the car in front when he began his lap, which left him unable to attack as much as he would have liked when it mattered.
“Today was sub-optimal, I would say,” said Bottas. “It’s a shame because the car felt good and the speed was there, it just didn’t end up that way.
“There was a bit of a communication issue, I got told there was no time and got stuck behind the car ahead of me, so I was way too close to improve. But, it turned out I had some margin, so I could’ve used that.
Bottas felt, ultimately, that a third consecutive Austrian Grand Prix pole position was out of reach for him on Saturday, but he knows race day is a different day, and he will be giving it his all to move up and fight for his third victory of 2019.
He will line-up on the second row of the grid, behind only Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who secured his second pole position of the year to add to his one from the Bahrain Grand Prix, and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, the winner in Austria twelve months ago.
“We expected it to be super close with Ferrari, but they have a bit of a margin,” admitted the Finn. “Pole position was out of reach today, they are just too quick on the straights.
“But, it’s a long day tomorrow and starting from the second row still leaves opportunities. We’ve seen on the first lap that many things can happen, with drafting on the straights, so I’ll be giving it my all.”