Valtteri Bottas stormed to an excellent pole position at Silverstone on Saturday, with the Finn leading an all-Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team front row ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas, who missed out on points in last weekend’s British Grand Prix due to a late race puncture, took pole position for the thirteenth time in his career, his 1:25.154 beating Hamilton’s time by 0.063 seconds.
The Finn put the improvements in Qualifying down to tweaks made to his W11, which gave him the opportunity to push to the limit to take the pole position for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
“Pole today feels really good,” insisted Bottas. “It’s a privilege to drive this amazing car – it’s so quick. I love qualifying when it’s like that, it was great fun.
“We made some tweaks to the set-up from last weekend and for me the performance was much better today. I knew I’d have an opportunity to improve on the second run in Q3 and I pulled the sectors together, I got absolutely everything out of myself and the car.”
Bottas feels a one-stop strategy is likely to be difficult to pull off thanks to the tyre compound choices available to them, but he has faith that Mercedes will find the tactical option that will give him the best chance of a second victory of 2020.
“A one-stopper will be difficult with the compounds we have this weekend – but I know the team will be looking at all the options for tomorrow,” said the Finn. “I think the race pace is there and I hope I can get another good start like last weekend.
“I’m in a good position for the race, but we all know that the points are given on Sundays.”
“I just didn’t pull it together” – Lewis Hamilton
Team-mate Hamilton felt Bottas did the better job during Qualifying, with a few mistakes creeping into his own driving. After leading the way after the first run, he was unable to improve as much as his team-mate did on the second run, which relegated him down to second.
He said the change in wind direction made for a trickier day, but he laid no blame on it as it was the same for all twenty drivers.
“Valtteri did a fantastic job today, he put in a very strong lap when it mattered in Q3 to take pole,” acknowledged Hamilton. “My first lap in Q3 was good, but the second one wasn’t really all that great.
“I just didn’t pull it together, made a couple of mistakes right at the end and ultimately you pay for that. The change in wind direction made it a bit trickier out there today, but that was the same for everyone so no excuses.”
Hamilton says he will be doing everything he can to get ahead of Bottas on Sunday, and with the softer tyres available, he is expecting an exciting and intriguing 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
“It’s not easy to follow on this track, but I’m hoping that the softer tyres and hot temperatures will create some opportunities tomorrow – it should be exciting,” said Hamilton.
“We’ll work hard tonight to see where we can improve and you know I will be giving it everything to try and beat Valtteri tomorrow.”