Valtteri Bottas says he “couldn’t trust the rear end” of his Mercedes Formula 1 car as he only managed eighth in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Bottas had started the weekend at Imola strongly, topping both Friday practice sessions and leading the way in the first part of qualifying.

The Finn ended qualifying eighth overall, nearly half a second shy of teammate and polesitter Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas’ time in Q3 was slower than the best time he set in Q1 - a time that would have been good enough to put him fourth on the grid.

His struggles came in the first sector of the lap and Bottas revealed he had suffered a snap of oversteer on his first Q3 effort at Turn 2.

“P8 definitely not what I was aiming for today, especially with the feeling starting the qualifying and how everything was feeling… In Q3’s first run I went into Turn 2 and had really sudden snap from the rear-end, and that really continued through sector one,” Bottas said.

“I lost a lot of time, and actually, the same happened in round two, It was never there. I couldn’t trust the rear end of the car and it was something that I didn’t feel in the whole qualifying before that so, what happened we still need to investigate. So, for sure, disappointing.”

Mercedes struggled for rear-end stability on the exit of corners at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, but Bottas felt it was corner entry, rather than corner exits that were the problem at Imola. 

“It was a bit different,” Bottas added. “Now it was more in corner entries, which I’ve never really had it before. We need to look first of all that everything is right with the car. So, it was not ideal.”

 

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