Valtteri Bottas scores P3 in Qualifying, as Lewis Hamilton misses out on Q3.Valtteri will start tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix from P3, after missing out on pole by 0.045s in a tight-fought Qualifying. Lewis struggled for grip throughout the session and was eliminated in Q2 – after being unable to complete a lap that would have put him into Q3 owing to yellow flags for a crashed car. Valtteri completed a single run in Q1, two runs in Q2 and then two runs in Q3 – all on the UltraSoft compound tyre. Lewis completed a single run in Q1 and two runs in Q2 – like Valtteri, all on the UltraSoft.
This weekend has been a bit tricky for us. We started well in FP1 before getting a bit lost with the set-up in FP2. Then it was difficult to get a lap together in Qualifying as well. It takes two to three laps to build the temperature up and find the right balance and feel for the car. It was very close today but Ferrari seems to have the upper hand here – they were very strong this afternoon. Of course it would be nice to start on the front row but anything is possible from P3 on the grid. It’s difficult to overtake here but it’s definitely a race of opportunity. Tomorrow is Monaco, where anything can happen.
I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me. It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster. I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had. Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment. I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow. It’s great that Valtteri extracted a good lap. We just need to identify why I wasn’t able to be up there too. Onwards and upwards.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
Two very different qualifying results today for Lewis and Valtteri. With Lewis, you could see even from the TV pictures that he was struggling with the car and nearly lost it a couple of times in qualifying. We don’t know at the moment what went wrong: we took a false turn with the set-up on Thursday and, since then, although we tried to retrace our steps, we never got it back on track for him. Of course he was unfortunate with the yellow flag for Vandoorne in Q2, as he was on course to make it through the session, but the car never felt good for him after FP1 and that made it tough to put together the laps. Tomorrow’s race will clearly be a case of damage limitation for him and trying to maximise his points score; but he will fight to the last lap. For Valtteri, it was quite a different outcome. The result he achieved didn’t look possible for much of the session but he really pulled out a fantastic lap on the final run in Q3 – and came just a few thousandths shy of a place on the front row. Ferrari are clearly in the driving seat for tomorrow but we will be in the hunt, too.