Valtteri Bottas claimed his third pole of the season but failed to convert it. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel passed the Finn on the opening lap and kept it until the chequered flag. He crossed the line 2.7 seconds adrift of Vettel but only 2.7s ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who started from the pits. 1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve labelled Bottas’ pace as embarrassing.
The Canadian said, “It was a great drive from Vettel, he won it at the start. He was aggressive. When you see what the Mercedes was capable of, you just have to look at Lewis and Bottas wasn’t up to pace. It’s embarrassing for Bottas. Lewis finished around three seconds behind him when he started from the pits. It’s embarrassing. He simply is not on the pace of Hamilton. It’s been like that all year. That’s his level. Which is a good number two.”
Why was Bottas’ pace so bad?
Bottas admitted that a poor start cost him the lead. Although, Vettel beat him to the first corner, he believes it was very close in terms of performance between the two. Bottas said, “Pace-wise, it was very, very close. We were trying to put a lot of pressure on Seb and trying to keep up, get close, especially around the pitstop. Once I was getting a little bit closer we decided to stop, trying to undercut but it was not quite enough.”
He got pretty close during the pitstop phase but it wasn’t enough to try to overtake. He was rather disappointed after a good day on Saturday. Although it wasn’t such a good day in the office for Valtteri, he still has a chance to snatch second place in the championship. Sebastian has quite a good lead now so the Finn needs some miracles in Abu Dhabi.