Bottas 'gutted' red flag cost late shot at F1 pole in Monaco

Valtteri Bottas felt “gutted” that a late red flag in Formula 1 qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix cost him a chance at snatching away pole position for Mercedes.

Bottas 'gutted' red flag cost late shot at F1 pole in Monaco

Bottas sat third overall after the first runs in Q3, 0.255 seconds off provisional pole-sitter Charles Leclerc’s lap time and as the lead Mercedes after Lewis Hamilton could only manage seventh.

But as Bottas looked to hook up his final lap in Q3, a red flag was brought out when Leclerc crashed at the exit of Swimming Pool, inadvertently sealing the Ferrari driver pole in the process.

“It is disappointing that I didn't get my last run with the red flag,” Bottas said.

“But that's how it is sometimes. I kind of left everything out there for the last run. The first run wasn't really up at all, the second run with the prep lap that we did.

“I was actually feeling good, and I was quite a bit up on my lap time.

“So I'm gutted.”

Asked how much time he had gained on his previous best effort before scrapping his lap, Bottas replied: “I think I was in Turn 6 to 7, and 0.150s up. But if and if, that’s what it is.”

Hamilton was one of the first drivers to come across Leclerc’s stricken Ferrari, meaning he had to abandon his lap and settle for seventh on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Mercedes has struggled to match Ferrari and Red Bull for pace so far this weekend, but Bottas was satisfied with the steps forward the team had made to get so close in qualifying.

“I think we make good progress throughout the weekend with the car, and definitely we're happy with it in qualifying,” Bottas said.

“I think we should have had a shot at pole on the last run, so we try everything we can in the race tomorrow.

“It's Monaco, anything can happen.”

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Bottas could be set to move up one place on the grid should Leclerc receive a penalty for a gearbox change, with the Ferrari driver fearing damage after his Q3 crash.

The Finn has only one podium finish to his name in Monaco, finishing third in 2019 for Mercedes.

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