Bottas regrets doing single-lap run in Portimao qualifying

Jonathan Noble
·2-min read

The Finn had looked on course to take the top spot at the Algarve circuit, but was pipped in the closing seconds by Mercedes F1 teammate Hamilton, who had opted to do two timed laps at the end of Q3.

Reflecting on how the session had panned out, Bottas reckoned that his call to just go for a single lap with the medium compound was the wrong one.

“The medium actually felt a tiny bit quicker than the soft, and then it was choosing if we do two timed laps, with a cool down in between, or just one timed lap,” said the Finn.

“Obviously, with one timed lap you can have less fuel in the car, but you might struggle with the tyre warm-up. I went for that. It was my decision to go for one timed lap, because it worked in Q2, but apparently it seems like doing two timed laps for Lewis was better.

“It was a decent lap, not perfect. It's been tricky here to get really clean laps this weekend because of the way the track is, but I mean the lap was good. I think ultimately I should have gone for two timed laps as well.”

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Hamilton said that with Bottas having been so quick throughout practice, he felt going for a three-lap run was the only way he was going to have a chance to get ahead.

“Valtteri has been so quick this weekend,” said the world champion. “He's topped every session and I've just been digging and digging and digging and trying to find that extra time.

“At the end there, I chose to do three laps to give me a chance to have a stab at beating his time. And I think he decided to do one. So I was like, ‘okay this could provide me an opportunity and it worked.’ That last lap got better and better as I went through.”

Hamilton said Mercedes left the call on the length of the final runs down to each driver, and he opted for the two timed laps because of the difficulties in getting the tyres working on the smooth asphalt surface.

“We had the choice of going on to the soft or to the medium,” he said. “We both chose to go to the medium. He chose to do one lap, I chose to do three, because we had the time.

“So I got out there nice and early. And, you know, the medium tyres...the tyres are very hard here this weekend. We've got the hardest of the compounds and getting them to work here is, believe it or not, it's very, very difficult. So that's why I wanted to have an extra run just in case the first one wasn't that great. And it worked perfectly.”