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Valtteri Bottas ‘surprised’ by big gap to Hamilton

Barcelona, Spain

Spanish Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas says the sizeable gap over his teammate in Spanish qualifying came as a surprise.

Bottas claimed pole position with a new track record of 1:15.406, to finish more than half a second clear of either one of Lewis Hamilton’s two flying laps in the same Q3 session.

Speaking afterwards, the Finn said that he felt surprised when he saw the extent of his advantage over his notoriously strong qualifier teammate: “I’m surprised by the big gap over Lewis, it’s bigger than I would have expected. I don’t know how Lewis’ lap was, but this time, everything went right on my lap.”

“It was a really enjoyable, nice lap. A nice feeling, and a nice adrenaline rush. The car was behaving and doing what I asked of it. As a team, we’ve done an incredible job and I’m proud of the recovery from a difficult FP3. ”

Bottas missed around half an hour of the FP3 session after spinning off on an outlap and beaching his car at Turn 5. While he came back out with fifteen minutes to go, the loss of track time meant his preparation for qualifying would have been slightly compromised.

However, with the Finn claiming his third consecutive pole position while leading the Driver’s Championship, he said he’s not getting carried away by statistics: “I’m not a big fan of numbers, and at this point of the season there’s no point in thinking too much about numbers. Right now, it’s just all about the moment.”

Hamilton admitted afterwards that he just couldn’t keep up with his teammate: “Qualifying was OK. Valtteri just did a fantastic job. I just wasn’t quick enough. It happens, it’s kinda rare for me, but it happens. I’m very happy and proud of the team for the upgrades we’ve brought to eke the gap to the Ferraris.”

“My laps just weren’t very good laps, and Valtteri deserved the pole.”

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Thomas Maher

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