Bottas points to FP3 issue for disappointing qualifying

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Europe, Baku Street Circuitaz

Like many other drivers, Valtteri Bottas was disappointed after today's qualifying session at Baku. The Finn ended up with the 8th fastest time, struggling with track conditions and traffic throughout the entire session.

"I think we were unlucky today", said Valtteri Bottas after qualifying.

The Finn explained that his lack of running in FP3, caused by car damage due to a loose cable gutter cover was at the root of his struggles.

"Missing FP3 definitely made qualifying more difficult. It’s hard to say how much it affected us, but I don’t think our pace was too bad. I didn’t put a perfect lap together in Q1 or Q2, so I think to get through how we did shows that we had good pace. Q3 was tough because I was heavily affected by traffic on both of my runs and I think there was definitely about half a second to be found in the car. For tomorrow, we have a good race pace so I’m sure we can have a good day."

Williams' performance engineer Rob Smedley backed his driver in that belief, saying the entire team was left disappointed, seeing how strong they performed on Friday.

"When you look at how good we were yesterday in similar conditions, this is a little disappointing", said Rod Smedley.

"Valtteri missing FP3 had an impact on his qualifying potential, having missed 25% of the practice time. FP3 is when we get the cars set up for qualifying, so it was a disappointing that he was still having to learn in those sessions. Then his laps were affected by traffic and yellow flags, as were Felipe’s as well, so it was very difficult.

"I’m sure Valtteri could have been in the high 1:43s, that’s about where he’s been all weekend, and he should have had the legs to get in front of Red Bull. Qualifying was not ideal but we had good pace in the long runs on Friday, so we just need to convert that tomorrow in a race where we should be able to make a good deal of forward progress with both cars."

Valtteri Bottas qualified in 8th while Felipe Massa set the 6th fastest time and proved happy with his own qualifying performance.