Valtteri Bottas does not believe he has found a turning point in his season despite following victory in Russia with an impressive pole position at the Eifel Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton stands on the verge of matching Michael Schumacher’s all-time wins record, but Bottas made his teammate wait by winning in Sochi as Hamilton picked up time penalties. If that wasn’t a straight fight, then qualifying at the Nurburgring after just one practice session was more so, and Bottas duly took pole position by over a quarter of a second.
Pole No. 1️⃣4️⃣ of the flying Finn's career 🚀
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 10, 2020
“I can’t say (it’s a turning point), we haven’t raced here yet,” Bottas said. “At least today it was good — I felt like I was performing well and, obviously, being on pole is a good achievement, but it is the race that matters. I never had doubts I could be on pole position and win races.
“For confidence it’s always a nice thing to get it, but I can’t say it was a turning point because I’ve been upbeat all year long — I’ve been so close many times to winning this season, but things just haven’t come together. If I could predict the future, then I could say yes or no to that question.”
Pole position came with the final lap of qualifying as Bottas beat both Hamilton and Max Verstappen, and on a cold weekend at the Nurburgring he says tire preparation was crucial.
“It’s such a nice feeling when you get it in the last lap, in the last chance. In the end, the lap in Q3 was spot on, just what I needed and it was nice to get it together. Pretty tricky, of course, with short practice and these conditions, getting the tires in the sweet spot. That was one of the bigger things today, I think.
“It’s going to be a new day tomorrow and we just need to focus on all the small details that are going to matter. The first detail is going to be the start of the race, so I can’t enjoy pole position too much because tomorrow is the day that really matters.”
Bottas has regularly been faster than Hamilton in FP1 this season, and seems to hit the ground running before fading in comparison to his teammate as the weekend progresses, but he doesn’t believe that is a significant factor in his Germany performance.
“I don’t know if I’m any better than any other driver adapting at things. I’m sure every driver in Formula 1 needs to be hugely talented, reactive and adaptive to every conditions and to learn quickly, corner by corner, lap by lap.
“I just really like it — I always liked the process of finding the small details quickly. Since I was a kid, I guess driving different kinds of things, in the snow, all kind of conditions, I always liked it. Luckily for me since my young age I always found it pretty interesting, that process of quickly finding a certain pace and then do better. I cannot say more, I think all drivers here are talented. I just like it.”