Valtteri Bottas is heading into Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix low on confidence after struggling to get to grips with his Mercedes Formula 1 car so far this weekend, qualifying sixth at Marina Bay.

Mercedes had expected to face a stiffer challenge from Ferrari and Red Bull in Singapore due to the circuit layout, but was firmly left as the third-fastest team in Saturday's qualifying session.

Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes' charge in fifth, while Bottas was left to settle for P6, finishing over 1.3 seconds off Sebastian Vettel's pole time and only just outqualifying Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.

"The whole weekend, the harder I tried, the more I struggled. So I needed to control the slides and the wheel slips more than I would wanted to and the pace is just slow," Bottas explained.

"And if I tried to push harder than it would get even worse, so it’s been a little bit of a confusing weekend so far for me. I have another day, another weekend, from which I really need to try and learn but let’s see tomorrow.

"Here there will always be opportunities and even though we won’t be starting from the first two rows of the grid, we shouldn’t give up on trying to have a good race and trying to attack at least the Ferrari."

When asked if he could take confidence from Mercedes' long-run pace on Friday, Bottas said: "I have to say I’m not going into tomorrow with great confidence in my pace.

"I definitely learned lots from the long runs, we tried a lot of different things because, actually, my target was for much more laps than I actually did. I think we can actually do very long stints, that’s maybe why the pace was quite slow.

"But still, at this point, I’m not going into tomorrow thinking I’m going to have massive pace advantage compared to the cars ahead. We just need to go lap by lap and I need to try everything I can, try to do things better than on Friday and today.

"Then we’ll see and try to take every opportunity there is."

 

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