Valtteri Bottas says a brake issue is the reason he finished qualifying so far behind team-mate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.
It was a disappointing qualifying session for the Finn, as he only managed P4. To make matter worse, while he was within a tenth of Carlos Sainz just ahead of him, he was a whopping 1.4 seconds down on the time Hamilton set to take pole.
Given the British driver is renowned for his abilities in the wet, most put the considerable gap down to the conditions. However, Bottas says another factor was a brake issue he had.
“It was not easy, I didn’t look to be fourth on the grid but obviously tricky conditions can bring different challenges,” he told Sky.
“For me personally I don’t think I managed to build enough temperature in the tyres, part of the reason was my front-right brake was glazing throughout the qualifying.
“So, I couldn’t really maximise the potential of the car under braking, which is really important for the confidence in the wet conditions. It made it quite tricky and it’s for sure disappointing.”
Mercedes also encountered an issue throughout the practice sessions on Friday. They managed to identify and fix it overnight, but Bottas is unsure as to whether they’ll be able to do the same this time.
“I really hope so, it would be nice to go flat out but it’s something we’re only going to find out tomorrow because we haven’t done a race distance obviously in practice, but we know the car is quick so looking forward to it.”
After crossing to victory at the Red Bull Ring in the season opener, Bottas is aiming to become just the second driver ever to win there three times, joining Alain Prost. Max Verstappen, also on two wins, is in the same boat.