Valtteri Bottas says he was surprised Red Bull did not mount a serious challenge for pole position in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Mercedes dominated qualifying at the Hungaroring with Lewis Hamilton storming to his 90th career pole position, while Bottas qualified second securing yet another front-row lock-out for the German team.

Historically, Red Bull has performed well at the Hungarian Grand Prix with the Hungaroring's tight and twisty corners usually suiting its car.

Many expected Red Bull to be Mercedes' closest challengers in qualifying when in fact it was Racing Point who was. 



“It’s very surprising,” Bottas said. “For sure I was expecting them [Red Bull] to be maybe potentially closer here than Austria.

“Obviously I don’t know the details of how their session actually went – was it nice and clean or was there other issues? But the whole weekend, too, they’ve not really been that close. So it’s just surprising, obviously I don’t know the details yet.”

Hamilton was also surprised by the 1.4s gap to Verstappen.

“I didn’t know that was the case, but that is a very big gap. I definitely wasn’t expecting them to be as off as they have been this weekend. You saw the pace of them last year.

“This is not a power circuit, this is more about the car and the mechanical grip and aero package. I thought that they had a better package than, I guess, today’s results showed. I don’t know if they all had great laps or not, but still either way that’s a big, big gap.”

Reflecting on his own qualifying performance, Bottas was left frustrated to have missed out on pole by just a tenth.

“For sure. I saw in practice it was going to be close between us in qualifying. In FP3 it didn’t feel too bad. To be honest, from the beginning of qualifying and until the very end of Q3 I was struggling a bit in the first sector, mainly. Turn One, braking, I wasn’t so comfortable there, losing a bit of time, in Turn Two also struggled a bit with snapping of the rear of the car.

“But when the track improved the car started to come together and, at the end, the lap was pretty good, actually. I thought I might have a chance with that lap, but Lewis was just one tenth or so quicker, so I think he ultimately did a better job today and that’s why he’s on pole.''

 

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