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German GP: Bottas thinks Mercedes was out of reach

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas believes Mercedes was still too fast to outqualify on merit as he and team-mate Felipe Massa took second and third in German Grand Prix qualifying.

Bottas was pole-winner Nico Rosberg's closest rival in both Q2 and Q3, but was two tenths adrift in both segments.

"We must again be really happy with the result we got today as a team," said Bottas, who also started on the front row in Austria two races ago and is hunting for a third straight Formula 1 podium in Sunday's race.

"I think Mercedes is still ahead. The lap I had at the end had no mistakes and was a really good lap, so I got the most out of the car today.

"It feels really good to be part of this team as we are really going in the right way. We are still focusing to get better and better, and we'll try to do a perfect job and get maximum points tomorrow."

Massa trailed Bottas by three tenths of a second in Hockenheim qualifying and admitted he had found a tough to do a flawless lap.

"I was struggling to put the lap together - I had some movement from the tyres and was not able to have a perfect car and put the perfect sectors together," said the Brazilian.

"The car was not 100 per cent perfect in terms of set-up and Valtteri did a very good lap. But I'm still quite happy with the result and in the race the conditions and feeling are different."

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