Valtteri Bottas admitted it was positive to see Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN return to the top ten in Qualifying after setting the eighth fastest time on Saturday afternoon at the Hungaroring.
The Finn had been uncharacteristically outside of the top ten in the past few events after being a regular inside Q3 during his time racing for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, but Bottas was delighted to be back where he feels Alfa Romeo belong.
“It is positive to be back in Q3, we finally got everything together and the results show for it,” said Bottas. “It has been a while since we have been there and it’s good to be where we feel we belong.
“We were closer to Alpine than we thought, which is a positive, and it seems we made a bit of progress since the last race.”
Bottas does not feel the race pace of those at the front of the midfield is that different and starting inside the top ten gives him a good chance of returning to the points for the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix.
“In terms of race pace, I believe there is not really a big difference between the teams at the top of the midfield, which should make for a good battle tomorrow,” the Finn added.
“Still, this is a difficult track on which to overtake, so it is good to start from the Top ten and be able to fight for the points right for the start.
“Tomorrow will be all about having a good start off the line and choosing the right strategy: I’m looking forward to it.”
“Q3 wasn’t too far from my reach” – Zhou Guanyu
Team-mate Zhou Guanyu was also quick during Qualifying on Saturday, although the Chinese driver was unable to join Bottas inside the top ten.
Zhou will start his first Hungarian Grand Prix from twelfth on the grid after being eliminated by just a tenth of a second, and but for traffic on his out laps, he felt he could have got his tyres into better operating windows in Q2 and joined Bottas inside the top ten.
“I am quite happy with how qualifying went today, especially taking into account the difficult conditions we faced this morning,” said Zhou. “We finally got back to Q2 with both cars, and it’s been very intense as once again it was so close in the midfield.
“I was quite impressed with our pace today, as we seemed to be back on our levels after a couple of difficult weekends. Q3 wasn’t too far from my reach, but I encountered some traffic on my out-lap and the tyres weren’t ready, nevertheless I pulled together a good lap in the end and I’m happy about it.
“It looks like tomorrow won’t be any hotter than today, so hopefully that puts us in a good position for the race, to try and fight for places and bring home some points.”