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F1 Raceweek: Bottas feeling 'better and better' after hat-trick of poles

By Opta
ValtteriBottas - cropped

Barcelona, May 11: Valtteri Bottas' mood continues to be improved by an early Formula One title push after a third straight pole at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Bottas gets third straight pole for dominant Mercedes

Mercedes star Bottas leads the drivers' championship by a point from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, having celebrated a pair of victories in the first four grands prix of the season.

The Silver Arrows have achieved a one-two at each race and are on course to do so again after Bottas led Hamilton in Barcelona qualifying on Saturday.

The gap between the pair was a staggering 0.634 seconds and, worryingly for defending champion Hamilton, Bottas feels he is improving.

"By the time of Q3, it was just getting better and better," he said. "I really enjoyed that, enjoyed the adrenaline rush of those laps. I'm very pleased."

Bottas added: "It does [provide a boost]. It's started well this season, the way I hoped for, and I feel better and better in the car. I'm looking forward [to the race]."

Hamilton has a pair of victories himself this term and is keen to ensure he is the Mercedes man on the top step of the podium come Sunday.

"I'll be giving everything," the Briton said. "It's great for the team to have this one-two and we'll try to convert that into a one-two. If I can reverse it, I'll be happy."

The Silver Arrows have history in terms of their drivers going after each other in Spain, though, with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashing out early in 2016 as they clashed.

Team boss Toto Wolff said of the prospect of a repeat: "We might have a little chat about that, but they know exactly [what not to do]."


Ferrari have brought updates to their SF90 car for the second raceweek running, with an upgraded engine used in Barcelona.

But they were simply no match for Bottas and Hamilton, leaving Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc – who qualified third and fifth respectively – disappointed with their Saturday performance.

"[The last sector] seems to be more than an Achilles' heel at the moment," said Vettel. "I just spoke with Valtteri and they were both more than happy with their car.

"I think we got everything out of the car in the first run. In the second run, I had to try something different and it didn't work. I'm happy but not happy, if you know what I mean."

He added: "The car doesn't feel bad but obviously we are not quick enough."

Leclerc, who appeared to damage his car as he went wide in Q2, told Sky Sports: "I'm not very happy, but in Q2, I don't understand how I could lose that much of the car on the kerb. I could not expect it.

"I kept it flat thinking it would all be fine. Unfortunately, we had to brake quite a lot and it was still clear to me in Q3 that the balance was very strange. We have to check the car.

"But it would not [have made a difference]. We were slower than them and that's it."


1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 6. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) 7. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 9. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)


2018: Lewis Hamilton 2017: Lewis Hamilton 2016: Max Verstappen


The track was hot during Q3 on Saturday and no rain is forecast for race day. Temperatures are expected to reach around 18 degrees Celsius in Barcelona when the cars take to the grid.

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Story first published: Saturday, May 11, 2019, 22:00 [IST]
Other articles published on May 11, 2019
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