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Bottas rues bad luck and Ocon apologises as Hamilton takes Mugello pole

By Patric Ridge

Mugello, Sept. 12: Valtteri Bottas lamented his bad luck after Esteban Ocon's spin cost him a shot at pole position in qualifying for the Tuscan Grand Prix.

F1 2020: Hamilton takes first Mugello pole after yellow flag costs Bottas

Lewis Hamilton clinched first spot on the grid for Sunday's race, a maiden Formula One pole at Mugello, with a time of one minute and 15.144 seconds.

However, Mercedes team-mate Bottas seemed to be the pre-qualifying favourite after he finished top of the timesheets across all three practice sessions.

Yet, with a yellow flag raised as a result of Ocon spinning off the track in his Renault, Bottas could not complete his last run and ultimately placed second.

"I still had more time in there," a frustrated Bottas told Sky Sports. "Run one was okay, but not perfect. I was looking forward to the last lap but I didn't get the opportunity.

"It's disappointing because the speed has been good all weekend.

"For sure it [Ocon spinning off] had an effect. I knew there was more in it and I was confident that this weekend it belongs to me.

"But there's two types of luck, unlucky or lucky. And I got unlucky again."

For his part, Ocon offered apologies for the incident, with the laps of Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo having also been affected by the spin.

"You try and push the limit through the session and I felt comfortable in the car," Ocon told Sky Sports. "I felt great.

"I felt there was a lot of time that could be gained. Unfortunately it was a bit over the limit and I am sorry for the guys that couldn't complete their laps. Everyone pushes hard on this track and it bites you when you go over [the limit]."

Hamilton was thrilled to claim a seventh pole of the season, and his first one at a track he described as "phenomenal".

Mugello, which is owned by Ferrari, is staging a Formula One grand prix for the first time.

"It's been a really tough weekend if I'm being honest," Hamilton told Sky Sports after earning his 95th career F1 pole.

"This track is phenomenal. It's a really, really challenging circuit, and Valtteri was quicker than me all through yesterday, this morning, and even in Q1.

"I've been working so hard in the background to try and improve. The team did such a great job and I finally got the lap that I needed. I couldn't go quicker at the end, but it was job done.

"Valtteri did a great job pushing me, but I'm really, really happy [to be on pole]."

Ferrari, celebrating their 1,000th grand prix, had Charles Leclerc in fifth, though team-mate Sebastian Vettel failed to make it into Q3.

Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, both of Red Bull, will start in third and fourth respectively.

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Story first published: Saturday, September 12, 2020, 21:50 [IST]
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