Bottas claimed his first pole since the Sakhir Grand Prix last year, beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to top spot by just 0.007s.

The Finn has endured his worst start to a season since his days with Williams, scoring just 16 points after two races.

After struggling with tyre warm-up in the opening two rounds of the season, Bottas felt he had made a step forward in this area which was decisive in him securing top spot.

“Yes, it has definitely put a smile on my face, because in the first two races of the season the qualifying from my side hasn’t really been, at least the Q3 session, hasn’t been the strongest point, getting everything out of the tyres, getting the tyres to work well, it has been a bit of a weakness, but now it felt like things are starting to go in the right direction,” Bottas said.

“I’ve been feeling strong all weekend, so I knew it was possible and it definitely makes me really happy to put it together in Q3 and be on pole.”

Bottas suffered one of his worst weekends as a Mercedes driver at Imola last time out, qualifying eighth before crashing out spectacularly after an incident with George Russell.

Bottas revealed he didn’t change his pre-race preparation as a result of his torrid Emilia Romagna GP weekend.

“I didn’t do nothing too different from normal in race analysis,” Bottas added. “After the race as we were still testing, Lewis was on the car on Tuesday, I was on Wednesday, went home on Wednesday night, did my things, had a good weekend.

“Then I went to the factory preparing for this weekend in the simulator, etc., You talk about mentally, I took all the learning points and there were lots of lessons from the last race, as always, it’s how it goes. The rest, I should forget and move completely to the side of those and moved on. I know that hard work will always pay off and that’s what I’ve been telling my team as well.  

“It’s only Saturday and I always knew it was possible with a good qualifying. We’ll see tomorrow, tomorrow is the day that matters.”

 

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