Bottas knew it was ‘game over’ in Q3

Date published: May 25 2019

Valtteri Bottas feared he would be "at the back of the grid" following his pit-lane incident with Max Verstappen in Monaco.

Valtteri Bottas watched Q3 slip away from him on the big screens as he qualified P2 for the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Finn saw provisional pole snatched away from him by team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and although he would secure yet another front-row lockout for the Silver Arrows, Bottas was left to rue poor tyre temperatures and traffic as he failed to strike back at the reigning World Champion on his final run.

Such is the control that the German team enjoy right now over the field, Bottas even had the time and confidence to take a glace at the big screens to see that “Lewis had managed to improve his time”.

“We are proud again of getting another one-two, it’s really impressive but my feeling at the moment is that I’m really disappointed with qualifying,” Bottas told reporters in Monte Carlo.

“I really felt I had the speed today and felt really good in the car, all day. In the first run I felt there were still 0.2s or 0.3s I could improve, so I should have done a better job in the first one.

“On the second one I had quite a lot of traffic on the out lap, I had to go off the line in a few places and then the tyres weren’t working at the start of the second lap.

“The issue for me was the traffic on the out lap, there were a couple of cars that I was stuck behind and I had to pass off line, and you get quite a bit of dust on the tyres. If you cannot get temperature into the tyres on this track that’s really critical.

“Already at T1 I felt the tyres weren’t there and I was going slower and slower on the following corners, until I had a big snap coming out of Turn 8 – that was it.

“I saw on the big screens, passing the Swimming Pool, Lewis had managed to improve his time, so I knew that was game over.”

Bottas knows it will be hard to deny his team-mate the race win on a track where overtaking can be impossible, but he sees the start into T1 as an “opportunity”.

“You always aim for a good start but here there’s a super-short distance from the start to the first corner, so there aren’t many opportunities,” he admitted.

“Obviously the aim is to do a good start and, as a team, we want to be one-two again and for me it’s going to be about waiting for opportunities in the race.”

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