10 May 2014
Spanish F1 Grand Prix: Bottas expecting ‘close fight’ behind Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas eyes a maiden podium in the Spanish Grand Prix after qualifying in fourth position for Williams.
Williams Martini Racing's Valtteri Bottas is expecting a competitive challenge for the final step on the podium for the Spanish Grand Prix as he looks to make the most of his strong qualifying performance.
Bottas will start on the second row in fourth position behind both Mercedes' and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, the Finn successfully out-qualifying closest rivals Force India, Ferrari and McLaren.
Crediting the result with a change in set-up ahead of qualifying, Bottas was pleased with the turnaround after a difficult start to the Spanish GP weekend.
“I am very happy for us,” he said. “As a team, it is a good result again. Both cars in Q3 and I had a really nice lap in the end, which was good because it had been a difficult weekend for me. The FP2 and FP3 sessions were quite difficult, so we made some big changes for qualifying and we finally started to get more trust to the rea end of the car and pick up speed.
“It is nice to see we are really making progress, Tomorrow we will see what the raw pace is going to be. I think it is going to be a close race behind the Mercedes', so it'll be a nice fight.
Indeed, with Williams, Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India, McLaren and possibly Lotus seemingly closely matched on pace this weekend, Bottas is anticipating a fierce fight behind the all-conquering Mercedes' for third.
“At the moment it seems like they [Red Bull] are a bit quicker than us, also on a long run, so we know it'll be difficult, but we have that advantage in a straight line, so you never know. We are going to aim to go forward, so we will do everything we can to keep the position or gain.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa, meanwhile, will start in ninth position after making a mistake on his flying lap, the Brazilian 'disappointed' in himself for missing out on the chance to join Bottas further up the grid.
“I made a mistake. I had an incredible qualifying in Q1 and Q2, but in Q3 I locked the rear tyres in braking for corner ten, I went straight out of the line and I lost maybe six or seven tenths. I am really disappointed.
“I would say we have a good, competitive car, so I think it is important not to lose any opportunity to overtake and to try and have free air in front. It won't be easy starting ninth, but we will see. Easy the car could start fourth and fifth, so I am not sat in my position.”
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