Valtteri Bottas says his mistake into the last corner of his final qualifying lap for the Russian Grand Prix probably only cost him a single position on the grid, but remains satisfied to have qualified third for the race in Sochi.

With the Williams Martini Racing team contesting Mercedes in FP3, Bottas and Felipe Massa appeared capable of getting on terms with their rivals in qualifying, though the sole challenge was left to the Finn when his team-mate was eliminated by technical issues in Q1.

Furthermore, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg failing to make a significant improvement in Q3 as the track began to fall away from them, Bottas' final lap attempt saw him post fastest times in sectors one and two, raising the possibility of a surprise last gasp pole position.

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However, an error on the exit of the final corner would scupper his attempts, the Finn forced to settle for third place and the second row. Despite this, Bottas says his degrading tyres coming into the final portion of the lap means he probably didn't quite have enough to follow through on his split times anyway.

"I didn't realise at the time I was close to the pole," he said. "Maybe looking back I was too hard on the tyres at the beginning of the lap and the last sector became trickier, so it became more difficult in the last few corners.

"I risked it a bit too much in the final corners and went a little bit wide and when you are offline it is really slippery, so that was it. It is not nice to make a mistake but I think in the end it maybe cost one place maximum."

Looking ahead to the race, Bottas is optimistic he can take the fight to the dominant Mercedes' after making a big step forward over the course of the weekend.

"I really hope so [I can challenge them]," he said. "It is never easy and they are really quick, but we will see tomorrow. As a team we have made a really big jump this weekend in car set-up for this unique track and unique surface, so it is feeling good and the car should be a bit better in the long run than it was in qualifying."