Valtteri Bottas believes his pole position in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix is down to him finding bigger gains than teammate Lewis Hamilton since last weekend’s race.
Hamilton took pole at the British Grand Prix and led from pole to win his home race despite a last-lap puncture. Bottas was not so lucky in the closing stages as his own puncture saw him drop from second to finish outside the points, but he bounced back with pole at Silverstone and says he feels like he made more progress compared to the previous qualifying session.
“From last weekend to this weekend I think we’ve been working on everything that we can improve with the car and, also, for us — me and Lewis — driving-wise we’ve been trying to find more,” Bottas said. “In terms of setup, at least for me, I think we’ve been able to find a bit more, as the same process we go through throughout the weekend.
“We’ve been able to go in the right direction from the beginning of this weekend, all the way to qualifying. In the qualifying session, there’s not so much you can do to the car setup-wise. There’s obviously tire temperatures, that you learn more about by running and we’ve been trying to nail them in Q3, when it comes to out laps.
“The same with the engine; we know that with the quick car we have, we don’t necessarily have to use the higher engine modes in Q1 and if we can save the engine, we save it. Obviously towards the end of qualifying we’re going to be running the full power, so, for sure, there’s lap time difference there as well.
“But I also think us, the drivers, are learning throughout the sessions. The tire temperature on the out-lap is pretty important, and that improves a lot throughout qualifying as well.
“Of course I cannot go into too much details in terms of what we did setup-wise, but we’ve been able to improve the car’s setup for me. I think I had a slight deficit in qualifying last weekend, just in terms of the direction I want. I don’t think it was a bad race car, but I hope now it’s optimized for both.
“As always, between the races, we analyze everything from the race weekend, the setup, my driving in qualifying and the race, and I drove a bit better. At least today I managed to do some things better than I did last weekend. It’s a pretty standard process, to be honest; I just don’t want to go into the details about the setup, but it just that it felt better today in qualifying than last weekend.”
Hamilton conceded his teammate simply did a better job in qualifying after missing out on pole position by 0.063s.
“Valtteri did a fantastic job today — he was just a bit too quick for me,” Hamilton said. “The first lap I think in qualifying was very decent and the last one wasn’t spectacular. Ultimately he did a better job. I am happy for the team to have a 1-2 and to see another great result for Racing Point.
“At the end of the day we’re drivers — we go out and continue to push. I was in the sim too, although we weren’t really working on this race. I improved over this weekend also. Valtteri just did a better job at the end. I don’t feel any way about it. We’ve still got a long race tomorrow. I will do everything I can to beat this guy.”