Bottas claims he was lucky to get China pole

Date published: April 13 2019

Valtteri Bottas claims he was lucky to clinch pole for the Chinese GP after struggling in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas believes he got a bit lucky in claiming pole for the Chinese Grand Prix after struggling to put a clean lap together.

The Finn would claim his seventh career pole, getting the better of team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.023s to complete a front-row lockout for Mercedes.

Despite a three tenth gap back to the Ferraris, Bottas claimed to struggle throughout the final stage of qualifying, but was delighted with pole nonetheless.

“It’s been a good weekend so far for me,” he told reporters in Shanghai.

“Now starting from pole position. I felt already really confident this morning, in FP3. In qualifying, I honestly struggled a bit in Q3 to get the perfect lap, but it was good enough.

“The lap was OK, like I said, not completely how I wanted. Luckily it was good enough for pole.

“The car has been really good this weekend, Lewis also managed to improve a lot during the qualifying and it was super close.

“Obviously tomorrow is the big day but at least on single lap performance it’s been competitive. As a team we’ve been super strong.”

Pierre Gasly is the only driver in the top six who will start the race on soft tyres, after Both Mercedes and Ferrari drivers, along with Max Verstappen set their fastest laps in Q2 on the mediums so they could start on that compound.

Bottas believes the mediums are the right choice, due to the poor life span of the softs in race conditions.

“The thing here is that the soft tyre is, on a very high-speed track, there are long corners that put a lot of load on the tyres, so the soft degrades more during the lap, even in just one lap,” he revealed.

“So the soft might be a lot quicker at the beginning of the lap, but by the middle of the lap, it’s already slower. That’s why there’s not a massive time difference between the two.

“I think tomorrow, as normal, the Mediums will be a better tyre after a few laps. That’s usually the case, but that’s something we’ll find tomorrow.”

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