Bottas work on 2021 qualifying "weak point" led to Portimao pole

Valtteri Bottas feels his efforts addressing a previous 2021 Formula 1 qualifying "weak point" in finding the new Pirelli tyres' best operating temperatures led to his Portuguese Grand Prix pole.

Bottas work on 2021 qualifying "weak point" led to Portimao pole

Bottas failing to warm up his tyres sufficiently in Q3 last time out at Imola meant he slumped to eighth on the grid and further struggles with retaining tyre temperature in the Emilia Romagna race meant he was lapped before half distance, just before he was eliminated in his enormous accident with George Russell.

The issue of good tyre warm-up has been a central theme to the Portimao weekend so far, with drivers across the field struggling on the smooth, low-grip surface. But Bottas was able to put his previous troubles behind him to claim his 17th F1 career pole, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Q3 on Saturday.

The two Mercedes drivers did still have tyre temperature drama late-on, as they failed to recapture their Q2 pace on the medium tyres for their final runs in Q3, which Bottas said was perhaps down to "the wind [picking] up in the last run and I couldn't quite get the temperature [again]".

"It's a good feeling to be on pole," Bottas said after climbing from his W12 in parc ferme.

"It feels like it's been a while. It was nice to get a good qualifying – it's been the weak point for me in the first two races, [with] getting the tyres to work.

"Again this weekend we've been working hard and it's nice to see it's paying off and puts me in a good position for tomorrow."

Speaking later in the post-qualifying press conference, Bottas said the result "certainly put a smile on my face".

He added: "Because in the first two races of the season, the qualifying really from my side hasn't been, at least in the Q3 session, the strong point.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, arrives in Parc Ferme after securing pole

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, arrives in Parc Ferme after securing pole

Photo by: FIA Pool

"Getting everything out of the tyres and for the tyres to work well has been a bit of a weakness.

"But now it felt like things were starting to go in the right direction. I've been feeling strong all weekend, so I knew it was possible, and definitely makes me really happy to put it together in Q3 and be on pole.

"As a team as well, with the pressure and with the battle with Red Bull, it's good to be ahead."

When asked what was behind his tyre warm-up breakthrough, Bottas replied: "Out laps, looking at those things – it's so much about tyres.

"And yeah, just also trusting your own work and set-up direction. Everything."

shares
comments

Related video

Russell "aiming for points" after qualifying 11th for Portuguese GP
Previous article

Russell "aiming for points" after qualifying 11th for Portuguese GP

Next article

Three F1 teams voted against sporting penalties for budget cap breaches

Three F1 teams voted against sporting penalties for budget cap breaches
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir Plus

How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir

He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too

Formula 1
Aug 5, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move Plus

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022
The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships Plus

The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships

OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2022
The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision Plus

The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision

OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing Plus

Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing

OPINION: With more potential venues than there are slots in future calendars, rumours have been circulating that the Monaco Grand Prix could be a casualty of F1’s expansion into new markets. But MARK GALLAGHER thinks this is highly unlikely

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

The Hungarian Grand Prix race result, after a dry race held without safety car conditions, bore little resemblance to what was anticipated after qualifying. While certain drivers were nullified by some iffy strategy calls, others shone to grasp opportunities afforded to them in the last F1 race before the summer break

Formula 1
Aug 1, 2022