Lewis Hamilton, 7 times world champion, was surprised by his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the Q3 of the qualifying session of the Portuguese GP. It seemed that the Englishman, after a great turnaround in Q2, could repeat in the final part of the ‘qualy’ to take his 100th pole, but his Finnish teammate took the first position from him by only 7 thousandths with a great first attempt. Subsequently, strong gusts of wind made it impossible for Lewis and Verstappen (3rd) will snatch the first starting place from the Nordic. This Sunday, the start will be absolutely key as not many changes of positions are foreseen in terms of strategies among the top three, since all of them will start with the middle and go to a single stop. This makes Valtteri be aware of how much your two opponents will attack in the first corners.
All the pressure is on Bottas, who of the 5 poles achieved last year, could only win the first race, losing the victory in the remaining 4. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Finn, when getting out of his Mercedes, ensures that he has to focus on making a good start: “I have to focus on the start and from then on we will see”.
“It was difficult, for everyone, I don’t think anyone has done a perfect lap, neither have I, but I’m very happy that it was enough to get pole. I think the key has been to stay calm, execute the plan and focus on small details, especially in the temperature of the tires in the preparation lap. I’ve been focusing on it all weekend because that was the problem with the other two classifications., which could not get the tires to work. I have always known that the speed was there but I was always missing those details. The points arrive tomorrow. The goal is 26 points (victory plus fastest lap) ”, Bottas later commented to‘ DAZN F1 ’, proud of his progress over Bahrain and Imola.
Hamilton satisfied with second place
“It was a great job from Valtteri and the team. We are on the front line, something we did not expect before this weekend. I did not do a perfect lap at the end, but I am satisfied, ”said Hamilton, who will start second, with the knife between his teeth.
“For us it has been difficult. It was quite windy. The temperatures have been changeable and it is a circuit full of challenges. We had very little grip on the tires, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, it’s difficult to explain and I don’t think anyone knows why. We started with the media, and since the pit lane is so long, we will probably go to a stop, which is not exciting. It will be a challenge to fight with these guys but it is not impossible “added the 7-time world champion and current leader of the World Cup, with one point more than Verstappen, who will start 3rd.
“Of course, (the starting position) is not ideal, but we will try to fight with them in the race. We hope that everything stabilizes a bit because so far it has not been fun to drive here “, commented on very changeable and complex track conditions, with a very slippery asphalt and with little grip and with moments of a lot of changing winds.
“I’m fine, but it could have been better, although it could also have been worse … The Mercedes have been very fast. We had a lot of balance issues in Q1 and Q2. In Q3 we almost managed to find the level but it was still very difficult. The first lap was erased, which would have been the fastest lap. But is very difficult on the track. We will have to make sure we do a better job tomorrow. “added Max, who in free practice exhibited better race pace than the Mercedes.
The Dutchman sat down at the end of qualifying, crestfallen and thoughtful, regretting his third position. He will try to seek victory with an exit for all, like that of Imola, knowing in turn that he must think about his particular fight with Lewis for the title.