Valtteri Bottas reckons Mercedes had enough to beat Formula 1 rival Ferrari to pole position during Italian Grand Prix qualifying, had it not been for a messy Q3.

The Finn saw his first run compromised when Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen crashed ahead of him at the Parabolica, causing him to lift in the final sector before crossing the line just 0.047s down on polesitter Charles Leclerc.

Bottas, like most of the remaining Q3 runners, was then unable to complete his final timed-lap of the session when everyone bunched up at the start of the lap, causing farcical scenes as drivers jostled to find the optimal track position in a bid to benefit from the tow.

“I think it was compromised for many drivers,” Bottas explained.

“In this kind of messy session, it was actually good to finish in the top three, but it was the same thing for me as for Lewis.

"I was actually more far back, so when we got the yellow flags I had to lift properly, so I also feel we lost the pole there.

“It’s annoying when you know it could have been possible but it could have been a lot worse today,” he added.

“I hope we’re going to learn something from the last run, because almost everyone missed on their final lap and there were two cars going very slow and no one could go by.

“It was not ideal, but we are here, very much close to the front and it’s going to be a good fight tomorrow.”

Asked if he feels F1 needs to consider a qualifying format change in the wake of Saturday’s events, Bottas said: “Well, these two tracks we’ve seen they’re really specific for the tows.

“I think in Spa and Monza there are the biggest gains you can get being behind another car and I don’t think it’s going to be an issue in most of the tracks.

“In the next race for sure not, everyone will try to find a clear gap. For tracks like this, it has always been like that.

"Now it’s maybe a bit more extreme with the cars generating more drag, so there’s more of a game to be in the slipstream.”

 

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