Valtteri Bottas felt he extracted the maximum from his Mercedes F1 car in qualifying despite being beaten to pole position by teammate Lewis Hamilton once again.

The Finn has been unable to match the relentless pace of Hamilton throughout the whole weekend, trailing the seven-time world champion in each session.

Bottas ultimately ended qualifying nearly 0.3s behind his teammate and is set to start the race from second.

When asked about the gap to Hamilton, Bottas had no explanation. 

“I don’t really know, actually,” Bottas said. “It felt good, that’s the problem, when it feels good, you feel like you’re extracting everything out of the car but the lap time is not there – that’s the most confusing part.

“I cannot say more at the moment, there were no mistakes and on the last lap I thought it was really good. It’s like small things here and there, there’s not one clear corner. I need to find out but, at least, it’s another front-row lockout for us.”

The Finn dismissed suggestions there was a problem with his Mercedes chassis.

“I don’t think there’s any underlying issue, really, with the performance of the car,” Bottas added. I think it’s there, the long runs were good, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Bottas revealed in the post-qualifying press conference that his and teammate Hamilton’s setup is quite different for Sunday's race.

“Obviously, it wasn’t enough for pole, so I was quite surprised the gap to Lewis, I think we ended up with quite different setups with Lewis, let’s see if that makes a difference tomorrow,” he said. “But he’s had a really good weekend, overall, every session. I have the feeling I definitely have the speed, but I haven’t really been able to get it all out. I thought I had got it all together at the end but, obviously, it wasn’t enough.”

 

 

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