Valtteri Bottas says he has no excuses for missing out on pole position for the German Grand Prix having admitted Ferrari were purely quicker than Mercedes in qualifying at Hockenheim.

The Finnish driver grabbed provisional pole from the Ferrari pair on his final flying lap in Q3 but was powerless to stop Sebastian Vettel reclaim top spot for the Italian manufacturer by two-tenths of a second.

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As a result, Bottas had to settle for second place in qualifying but was content with the result having felt he extracted close to the maximum performance from his Mercedes and paid credit to Ferrari.

“It was a tough battle for the pole but I think, in the end, Ferrari were just quicker today, especially Sebastian,” Bottas said. “As for my last lap, if I’d do the lap again there hundreds of a second here and there, maximum, 0.1s but they were just a bit too quick.

“It was a good lap, especially in the last sector. There was something I missed in the first run of Q3 but the feeling with the car was quite nice, so it was a good lap.”

With Mercedes facing a tough challenge to win at its home race, potentially for a second successive race having failed last time out at the British Grand Prix, Bottas accept he faces a tricky race against both Ferrari drivers with teammate Lewis Hamilton starting from 14th place after suffering a mechanical failure at the end of Q1.

“It’s an important race for us as a team, it’s one of our home races, for Mercedes and Daimler, so it is a big one,” he said. “But this is where we’ll start from, we need to make the most out of it.

“At least I’m starting second, it’s going to be a long race tomorrow and I’m sure Lewis can still come back to the first positions. We’ve seen many things happening, so we won’t give up and I’m still sure we can have a good result tomorrow.”

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