His Silver Arrows team-mate Lewis Hamilton took the team’s 100th pole position in their history, but Bottas was just a tenth and a half behind the five-time World Champion.
The Finn was quickest in the second part of qualifying, but he could not turn that into pole come Q3 in Interlagos.
“Yeah not far away but here the margins are always small,” Bottas admitted.
“I knew this weekend that I did have the pace to be on pole.
“It was there for me to grab but I couldn’t take it today.”
The Finn has a good chance after the middle sector of his final run in Q3, but a small mistake towards the end of the lap cost him dearly.
“I was more than two tenths up on the second run but I lost everything on the last corner and on the back straight without any tow so it is quite disappointing,” he added.
Bottas said that when the rain started to fall more heavily in the second part of qualifying that he was glad that he had the banker lap on the board.
“It really depends on the situation but once the rain really started to come down, thankfully we already had a really good lap on the board so it was not need to take risks,” he admitted,
“Sometimes you need to go for it and just try.”
Depending on possible penalties to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, Bottas could start further up the grid for Sunday’s race.