Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has expressed surprise at claiming a second-row starting position for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Finn had admitted that this weekend’s event at the twisty Hungaroring was unlikely to suit the Mercedes-powered FW36, but it turned out that his concerns were ultimately unfounded after he posted a strong lap in the tricky Q3 conditions to qualify third-fastest between the Red Bull Racing pair of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.

“I think maybe a little bit of a surprise,” he said to reporters after qualifying, when asked about his feelings on Saturday afternoon.

“The nature of the track is not the best for us but we worked well as a team to bring some upgrades. We are still missing some grip to the other cars, but today was good for us. We have a chance for some good points.”

The former GP3 Series champion finished over a second faster than teammate Felipe Massa in the sister Williams, who qualified sixth-fastest.

Some of that pace difference, however, can be attributed to an older-spec floor that the Brazilian is forced to run following his opening-lap collision with Kevin Magnussen at last weekend’s German Grand Prix. The team didn’t have another spare newer-spec floor to put on Massa’s FW36, nor enough time to ship a replacement across from its Grove headquarters.

Image via XPB Images

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.