Bottas regret after letting Mugello pole slip through his grasp
Valtteri Bottas was left to rue his failure to do a good enough job on his first run in the final part of qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix after being caught out by a yellow flag at his second attempt.
Bottas believes he "definitely" had the pace to have claimed pole, only for Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to take the 95th of his Formula 1 career, and 69th with the team.
After setting the pace in all three practice sessions at Mugello for the first time in his career, and again in Q1, Bottas was forced to abandon his final in lap Q3 when Renault's Esteban Ocon spun, losing out to Hamilton by just 0.059secs.
"It’s been a good start to the weekend and good practice sessions," said Bottas. "After practice three I was still looking at all the things that had to be improved for qualifying.
"Everything was going nice and smooth, Q1, Q2. The Q3 first lap wasn’t quite good enough so I felt there was definitely time still to be found.
"I was confident of myself doing it, but obviously there was no chance with the double yellows in the second run.
"In the end, I should have just done a better job in the first run. Lewis managed to find the pace and his first run was better than mine and that’s it."
Questioned on whether he had the pace to snatch pole from Hamilton, Bottas replied: “Definitely.
"I still had more time in there and I was just waiting for the time to get it all right, but I just didn’t get the opportunity. It is disappointing because the speed has been good all weekend.”
Coming into this weekend it had been expected that while the single-lap pace would be eye-catching, the racing would leave something to be desired due to Mugello featuring a number of high-speed corners, but little in the way of heavy-braking zones.
F2 and F3, however, have shown that passing is possible, with the high levels of camber presenting drivers with numerous different lines through almost every corner.
"Coming into the weekend we thought it was going to be nearly impossible [to pass]," added Bottas.
"But from what we have experienced in the practice sessions, the track is so wide and there are so many different lines you can take in the corners so you can avoid the dirty air in the corners."
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