Qualifying 'risk' left Bottas shaky and bracing himself for Imola fight
Valterri Bottas has conceded to taking a risk in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that has now left him steeling himself for a bitter scrap with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the long run to turn one at Imola.
The Finn secured the 15th pole position of his Formula 1 career by less than a tenth of a second in a frantic last-minute scrap for pole, with Hamilton second after a self-declared ”p*ss-poor” lap and Verstappen third after qualifying troubles.
“It’s going to be a good fight,” said Bottas. “It’s one of the longest runs in the calendar into turn one, so no doubt Lewis and Max will be chasing me, but it’s a good place to start and hopefully the pace is good. Game on.“
This weekend sees Imola returning to the calendar for the first time since 2006, but in this two-day weekend, the teams have had just one morning session on Saturday to become accustomed to the fast-flowing track.
Hamilton was fastest after the 90-minute practice outing, but Bottas made two vital improvements during the Q1 and Q2 sessions and took a gamble on his final lap to get the incremental step he needed to beat his British team-mate.
“I always have to (fight for it). It’s never easy to get pole positions,” said Bottas. “I knew I had to improve in the last lap and I found those small gains that were needed, and it’s a great feeling when you get those.
“For me, turn two, three is something I was really working on today and only got there in the end, and the last couple of corners as well. I struggled with instability of the car but I knew in the last lap I had to try so I risked it
“The car managed to turn in nicely and it was good. I definitely had the shakes after, but it’s good fun.“
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