Bottas 'gutted' to lose out on final run at pole

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 in qualifying parc ferme. 22.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas said that he had been hugely disappointed not to have one final chance to push for pole position for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was in third place with a 0.255s deficit to provisional pole sitter Charles Leclerc, but with enough time left on the clock to start a final push lap before the end of qualifying.

However it was not to be with Leclerc hitting the wall at the exit of the Swimming Pool to bring out the red flags and end the session early.

“It is disappointing that I didn't get my last run with the red flag,” Bottas told the media in parc ferme after the end of the session. “But that's how it is sometimes.

"I kind of left everything out there for the last run," he admitted. "The first run wasn't really up at all, but the second run with the prep lap that we did was feeling quite good

“I was quite a bit up on my lap time, so I'm gutted [not to have that chance]."

Bottas was convinced that he would have been able to find an extra 0.150s through turns 6 and 7, although he was denied the chance to prove it. "But if and if, that’s what it is."

Third place still gives Bottas a strong chance for a good result tomorrow - much better than his team mate Lewis Hamilton who slumped to seventh on the grid this weekend.

“We’ve seen since the practice on Thursday and still this morning that our relative performance to Red Bull and also Ferrari is not quite as it has been in the recent races," Bottas conceded.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 in qualifying parc ferme. 22.05.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo

“{it's a] unique track. You need different characteristics from the car. But what I’m proud of is the progress we managed to make.

"By the time of qualifying the car was felling much better than since the practice we did this morning.

"We should have had a shot at pole on the last run, so we try everything we can in the race tomorrow," Bottas said.

"We make good progress throughout the weekend with the car, and definitely we're happy with it in qualifying," he noted. “I was much more comfortable with the car and actually I really felt there was a shot for pole position, which was completely out of reach in the practice.

"That’s why it’s disappointing at the end, with the red flag, because I felt there was a good lap on the way," he said, adding: “[But] it's Monaco, anything can happen.”

In this case, 'anything' could even see Bottas promoted ot the front row if pole winner Leclerc incurs a five place grid penalty for a new gearbox following his accident at the end of Q3.

Monaco hasn't been a particularly happy hunting ground for Bottas in the past. He's never won on the iconic street circuit, and his best result in Monaco to date was third place in 2019.

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