Valtteri Bottas struggling to ‘trust the car’ after disastrous Imola qualifying session

Valtteri Bottas: 2019 has been my best year ever in F1

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Valtteri Bottas will have his work cut out on Sunday after failing to qualify in the top five ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton on pole position.

It was in stark contrast to 2020, where the Finn stormed to pole position, and after topping Friday’s practice sessions, looked to be in with a shot of the top spot.

But as Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Hamilton were fighting it out for pole, Bottas was seemingly off the pace.

He explained: “Not what I was aiming for today, especially with the feeling of starting qualifying, and how everything was feeling.

“Q3 first run I went into Turn 2 and I had a really sudden snap from rear end and it really continued through sector 1 and I lost a lot of time. And actually it was the same thing in run 2.

Lewis Hamilton surprised by pole position as Verstappen starts third

“It was never there – I couldn’t trust the rear end of the car, and it was something that I didn’t feel in the whole qualifying before that. So I don’t know what happened, we need to investigate, but for sure it’s disappointing.”

Bottas struggled during testing in Bahrain with the imbalance of the car, but worryingly for the team the 31-year-old admitted it felt like a new issue.

“It was something different, it was more on corner entry which is something that’s never happened before,” he continued.

“So I need to look, first of all, that everything is right with the car. But obviously not ideal.

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Hamilton snatched his 99th career pole position ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with Verstappen third, with Perez splitting up the newly formed rivalry.

However, Bottas will have to work his way up through the field, perplexed by the issues in qualifying.

“Today was a little bit confusing and I don’t understand the Q3 performance yet,” he admitted.

“On the first run of Q3 I had oversteer and then the second run, the rear end was not so good. Not what I was aiming for today, especially with the feeling I had at the start of qualifying.

“Q3 first run, I went into turn two and had a really sudden snap from the rear end and I lost a lot of time. The same in run two, I couldn’t trust the rear end.

“That isn’t something I felt in Q1 or Q2 so it’s difficult to understand – we will have to investigate. Overtaking here is difficult with a narrow track but I will fight to give it everything tomorrow.”

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