Valtteri Bottas was pleased with his run to second place in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday after a difficult start to the race weekend had left him on the back foot.

An engine issue caused Bottas to miss the majority of opening practice on Friday before wet weather limited his running in FP2, leaving him to squeeze everything into a shortened FP3 on Saturday.

Despite the setbacks, Bottas rallied to qualify second at the Hungaroring behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, missing out on pole by just 0.018 seconds.

“It hasn’t been the easiest of weekends so far as I missed the whole of practice one, and obviously had very limited running in FP2,” Bottas said.

“This morning was really important in FP3 to find the rhythm and get more confidence in the car. I didn’t feel there were any major setup issues, just some fine tuning.

“Going into qualifying I was still learning more and more with every lap. I started to feel very nice in Q3 and it was a shame to miss out on pole for such a small margin, but congratulations to Max and to Red Bull, they’ve been really strong all weekend.

“From how this weekend started for me, I’m quite happy in that sense. But I would obviously be a lot happier if I was sitting in the middle [on pole].”

Overtaking is notoriously difficult at the Hungaroring, but Bottas is braced for a close fight at the front of the field with Verstappen and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will start third.

“For sure it’s going to be a good battle tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy,” Bottas said.

“[Winning] is always a target as a driver and for sure it’s possible starting from the front row. If the performance is there from my side and from us as a team, then it’s possible.

“It really doesn’t matter where you start from, as we’ve seen in the past, anything can always happen. I have a good chance and I’m very upbeat for tomorrow.”

 

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