Valtteri Bottas says he was surprised to qualify as high as third on the grid for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix on a track which doesn’t particularly suit his Williams.
Hungaroring is a high downforce circuit which brings out a major weakness of the FW36, as we saw in practice sessions on Friday. However, a stunning lap and a bit of bad luck on the part of rivals meant that the Finn qualified on the second row of the grid for the fourth time this season.
“We are maybe a little surprised,” the 24 year old said. “We knew Red Bull were going to be really quick here, also Ferrari, and Mercedes like always. The nature of the track, in theory, for us is not the best but we have worked well as a team and brought updates that have worked well”
Bottas, however, remained cautious about his chances in tomorrow’s race, despite his run of three straight podium finishes.
“We're still missing some grip compared to some others cars but today was a good day for us. Third and sixth on the grid gives us a chance to get some good points tomorrow,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Felipe Massa blamed traffic for his relatively poor grid slot of 6th. The Brazilian’s laptime was nearly a second slower than that of his teammate.
“It was a very tough qualifying, especially with the weather,” the 33 year old said. “The biggest problem I had was traffic in Q3, I had to overtake maybe five cars on that lap so I couldn't put a time together. It was a shame, but we'll try to do the best we can tomorrow in the race.”
Team’s head of performance engineering, Rob Smedley, was pleased with Williams’ third position in the constructors championship and looked forward to reducing the gap to second placed Red Bull in tomorrow’s race.
“In terms of where we are in the championship, I'm happy,” the former Ferrari engineer said. “We've got a really big race on tomorrow to keep Ferrari back and to see if we can close down the gap to Red Bull, which is definitely possible.”