Valtteri Bottas rued a yellow flag caused by Esteban Ocon that ended his hopes of pole position for the Tuscan Grand Prix.
The Finn was quickest in all three practice sessions and again in Q1 at Mugello, marking him out as the favorite for pole heading into the latter part of the session. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was 0.013s quicker in Q2 and then went 0.059s clear of Bottas on the first runs in Q3, but with Hamilton failing to improve, Bottas lost the chance to respond when Ocon spun in the first sector.
“Definitely, I still had more time in there and I was just waiting to get it all right,” Bottas said. “Run one was OK, but not perfect, so I was looking forward to it. I just didn’t get the opportunity and for sure it’s disappointing, because the speed has been good all weekend.
“It had been a good start of the weekend — good practice sessions, including today. After FP3 I was still looking at a lot of things I could still improve in qualifying; everything was going nice and smooth, in Q1 and Q2 as well.
“The first lap in Q3 was not good enough — definitely time still to be found and I was confident in myself I would do it. But, obviously, there was no chance, with the double yellows in the second corner. In the end, I just should have done a better run in the first run. Lewis always manages to find the pace and his first run was better than mine, so that’s it.”
Despite the disappointment of missing out on pole position, Bottas is confident he will be able to challenge Hamilton in the race, where he hopes for an advantage at the start.
“The long runs were good, so there’s still all to play for. It would have been nicer to start from pole but, still, I think it’s one of the longest runs of the season into Turn 1 and if the headwind stays, the tow is going to be quite powerful into Turn 1. So, now I try to turn my thoughts to the race.”