Valtteri Bottas admits his narrow qualifying defeat to Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix is “annoying”.

Hamilton scored his 92nd career pole - and fifth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya - by pipping Bottas by just 0.059s on a 1m15.584, which was set on his first Q3 flying lap.

Neither Mercedes driver was able to improve on their second runs, despite Bottas setting personal best first and middle sectors. The Finn was frustrated by the slim deficit but put the gap down to his failure to nail the final sector.

“I knew it was going to be close, as always,” Bottas said.

“I think in the end, his first run in Q3 was really nice and clean, especially in Sector 3. 

"All day today I’ve been struggling a bit in sector 3, it has been getting better and better but still not quite good enough.

“It was closer, so it’s of course annoying, but he did a good job and, as a team it’s again the first row.”

With overtaking opportunities limited at Barcelona, Bottas believes the start of the race will prove to be his “best opportunity” to challenge Hamilton for the lead and is focusing on getting off the line strongly.

“I think the start will be the best opportunity for me,” the Finn explained.

“On Friday I saw that my long runs were competitive, so I’ve got the pace, but the start will be best chance for me.”

Asked if his goal is to get the lead by Turn 1, Bottas replied: “Yes, I try to get there first – trust me.”



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