The third race of 2021 is almost upon us after a hectic qualifying session at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão.
Valtteri Bottas took pole position ahead of teammate, Lewis Hamilton, in a Mercedes front-row lockout, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking off from P3 tomorrow afternoon.
Speaking after a successful afternoon of landing his 17th career pole position, Valtteri Bottas said;
“We worked hard to figure out the issues I was experiencing in qualifying, we put things right and this is the result – it’s more like how it should be, so I’m happy.
“In the first two races, I knew the speed was there but my main issue was tyre warm-up.
“We’ve put a lot of focus on that, we learned some lessons and I always knew our hard work would pay off.
“The key was to stay calm, execute the plan, and focus on the small details, particularly on the out-laps.
“We’ve been stronger than expected which is a positive surprise but it’s only qualifying, I’m already thinking about tomorrow.
“We know the Red Bulls have a strong race car and we are expecting an epic battle.”
Teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who crossed the line just 0.007s behind Bottas will take off tomorrow from P2. Speaking after today’s session he said it was not an enjoyable session:
“I couldn’t get that many good laps in but I’m not too frustrated, I only did one good lap and that was in Q2.
“Of course I’d have loved to put more good laps together but it was tricky out there.
“It’s a slippery track, the tyres are hard so you need to do multiple laps to put temperature into them and it’s quite a peaky balance – it works for a second and then falls away very quickly, it’s on a knife-edge.
The seven-time world champion said today, it wasn’t meant to be but “Valtteri did a great job and I’m just focused on the race.
“Now is the time to understand the strategy for tomorrow and work out where the opportunities lie.
“It’s not an easy track to follow but we shall we see – I hope we have good enough pace to fight for the win, tomorrow we’ll go all in.”
The Portuguese Grand Prix will kick off with lights out at 3:00 pm Irish time.