Valtteri Bottas is confident that he can deliver the Williams team’s first visit to the podium in 2014 after a strong qualifying performance ahead of Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
The Finn will line up an excellent fourth in his FW36, right in front of teammate Felipe Massa and directly behind Sebastian Vettel, who pipped him to third spot by just two-thousandths of a second.
“It was so close!” Bottas said after qualifying. “It was two thousandths of a second, it is always somehow achievable. In Q3 the last run we had I had a bit more traffic than I’d had in any run before so again we struggled again with the front tyre warm-up.
“That was on the out lap – not on the timed lap, just the out lap – but I couldn’t go at the pace I really wanted. I really felt the front tyres were not ready for the timed lap. At least both cars are still in a good position and we know we can have a good fight [in the race].”
The former GP3 Series champion expressed his hopes that Williams could take the fight to Red Bull Racing for the final spot on the podium in Sunday’s 70-lap race.
“It seems like our car is quite good with the primes. Especially on the long run the primes seems to go well, there was no degradation really, so once we get the fronts to work it’s really consistent. We know that we have the pace to fight with Red Bull, it’s just a matter of how do we get in front of them and keep the position.”
Massa, who has a 3-4 qualifying record against Bottas to-date in 2014, starts right behind but also rued out what he felt was a missed opportunity to qualify ‘best of the rest’. He finished just three-hundredths of a second slower than third-placed Vettel.
“Maybe, if I had been a few thousandths of a second quicker, I could have been third,” he said after qualifying. “I am really a bit disappointed because we have been on the pace for the whole weekend, in most of the sessions. We had the car to start on third and, unfortunately, missed by very, very little.
“Everything was related to the brakes because I had very good temperature in the brakes until the first run in Q2 but then, on the last three runs, the front brake on the left wheel was too cold, so I was always locking the wheel in corner one and losing time. We need to understand why [this happened] – it is clear on the data that it was a little too cold on the front left and I don’t know if it was just that but, for sure, it didn’t help.
“I cannot forget that the pace is good and this can be important for tomorrow,” he added, emphasising that points are awarded on Sunday.
“I’m confident that the car can be good and convinced we can have a good race. This is a track where it is possible to overtake and it would be great to have the opportunity to gain positions.”
Images via XPB Images
Image via XPB Images