The Finn could only manage tenth in qualifying, while Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton is set to start the race from second.

It was a role reversal of the last race in Monaco where Bottas was fighting for pole, while Hamilton was struggling for pace.

Reflecting on his qualifying in Baku, Bottas said: “It was pretty messy as expected with the red flags, yellow flags everything. From my side, the last run I missed like many others, but something is still not right. I’m so far off the pace and I have no clue why. I have no explanation.

“I’m losing every corner. If I push harder, I’m in the wall. So that’s the limit.”

Bottas has often fared well in Baku over the years, winning in 2019.

Had it not been for a late puncture, he would have won the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Bottas remains adamant something isn't quite right with his Mercedes W12.

“It’s strange,” Bottas added. “Coming here, I thought we would be fighting at the front. Lewis is at the front, in the fight, and I should be as well. I have no explanation. I think something is wrong.

“Try to understand everything I can and tomorrow, with this race, anything can happen. There will be opportunities.”

Bottas' top-ten start in Azerbaijan means he maintained his record of making Q3 in every race he's participated in as a Mercedes driver - stretching back to the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.

 

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