Valtteri Bottas admitted that lining up as 'best of the rest' behind the two Mercedes drivers was the best he could have hoped for in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Finn ended the day just over half a second adrift of polesitter Nico Rosberg, having all but halved the gap that existed between them on Friday, and appeared content with his effort as he joined the Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton for the obligatory post-session photographs.

He was particularly happy that the latest raft of updates to Williams FW36 appeared to have created a cushion to the Grove team's main rivals, even if they had not moved it any further up the order than expected.

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"It's not too bad," he admitted, "The [Mercedes] looked really, really quick yesterday - and even this morning - so it was nice to get a little bit closer. They still have some margin, and they're going to be really quick tomorrow but, as a team, I think we need to be happy with third and fourth, which was the goal today.

"We probably would have been in the same position [without the upgrades], but without such good lap times, so we've definitely made gains since the last race. It's positive - across the whole year we've planned the updates and, when we've put them on the car, they've worked, so its a good sign for the future as those updates should also help us in further races this year."

With the FW36 known to prefer dry conditions, the prospect of racing under the shadow of a typhoon on Sunday could have put a dampener on Bottas' enthusiasm - both literally and figuratively. Instead, however, the Finn believed that the gains made in recent weeks could be enough to keep himself and team-mate Felipe Massa in the hunt.

"We know that we may struggle a little more in the wet, but there also seems to be a bit of margin now behind us so, hopefully, we can still fight for a podium - even if it's really wet," he claimed.

"I think it would be nice for everyone, especially the fans, if we could have a really good race, so let's hope for the best. If the weather is like they expect, it could be difficult, but it could be difficult for everyone.

"In mixed conditions, a lot could happen, but the main thing is that we're starting both cars from good positions and trying to get all the points available for us to take. The main thing is to bring the points...."