Bottas was the man beat in practice ahead of qualifying, topping FP2 and FP3 at the Losail International Circuit.

The Finn couldn’t continue his fine form into Q3, only managing third on the grid, over 0.6s shy of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Reflecting on qualifying in Qatar, Bottas revealed that he struggled to get his tyres up to temperature for the opening sequence of corners.

“Yes, it’s been a good weekend so far,” he said. “Until the qualifying started, for me, I felt really strong and confident I was feeling very comfortable in the car.

“I don’t know what happened overnight, for sure the wind shifted from yesterday and in FP3 I was still fastest, but I had to push a lot, so I knew I couldn’t find much more. In qualifying I struggled quite a bit, especially in Turn 1, I was struggling to get the tyres ready, unlike yesterday evening.

“I need to have a look, but I obviously tried my best but I’m a little bit confused with what happened with the car overnight.”

The good news for Bottas is that he’s set to start the race from the clean side of the grid, while Verstappen is on the dirty side of the track.

Due to there being no support races this weekend, the difference between the left and right-hand side of the grid is likely to be greater than usual, giving Bottas a great chance of moving up to second on the opening lap.

“Yes, I don’t have much, personally, to lose and I hope the fact we’re both starting on the clean side, Lewis and I, will help and we’ll go from there,” Bottas added.

“We have got two cars against Max, so I’m sure we can do something.”