Valtteri Bottas says he didn’t have consistent braking and feeling from his Mercedes throughout qualifying for the German Grand Prix and feels it restrained him to third place behind pole-sitting teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The Finn, who came into this weekend having claimed the most pole positions of any driver so far this season, was unable to fully profit from the double disaster which hit Ferrari with both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc dropping out of qualifying with separate mechanical issues.

Having qualified third on the grid in Germany, Bottas concedes it was a missed opportunity as he suffered with brake locking throughout qualifying at Hockenheim.

“I felt fairly okay in FP3, there were no worries, so qualifying should be quite interesting, but all through qualifying I struggled with the brakes locking,” Bottas said. “In Turns 2, 6 and 8, all the big braking locking up many times and going straight [on].

“The confidence in the braking, the bite of the brakes was varying from one lap to the other, so it was difficult. I felt there were 0.2s or 0.3s I could have improved in Q3, by getting everything spot on, but no more than that. It was not the easiest of qualifying.”

Bottas conceded the problem came as a shock having not endured it before qualifying but remains optimistic of fighting back in tomorrow’s race – especially if the rain forecast arrives.

“It was a little bit surprising. The consistency was not there and I was always not sure what was going to happen when I hit the brakes if was going to lock the fronts or not, so that made it more difficult,” he said. “It can happen sometimes but we need to know why.

“We were hoping for a better result but it’s not a disaster and it’s a long day tomorrow. If it rains then it doesn’t matter where you start from, it’s going to be a mess, so it should be good.”

Bottas trails Hamilton by 39 points in the F1 world championship standings ahead of the German GP.

 

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