Valtteri Bottas drew satisfaction with his first pole position of the season in Portugal, saying he had underperformed in qualifying at the first two races.
“It’s a good feeling to be on pole,” said Bottas immediately after qualifying. “It feels like it’s been a while.”
Bottas’ last pole position was at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. He started the first two races of the year from third and eighth.
“It was nice to get a good qualifying,” he said, “it’s been the weak point for me in the first two races, getting the tyres to work.
“This weekend we’ve been working hard and it’s nice to see it’s paying off, which means a good position for tomorrow.”
Both Mercedes set their Q2 and Q3 times on medium tyres, while closest rivals Red Bull had to resort to softs for their final runs. “The whole weekend it’s been so-so feeling being with the soft tyres,” Bottas explained, “it’s been feeling better with the medium.
“Like last year, we put the medium tyres on at the end of the qualifying and it worked,” he said.
However, neither driver was able to improve on their time in a second stint. “We tried it again but I think maybe the wind picked up in the last run and I couldn’t quite get the temperature in them.
“So I’m glad that we still got a good result, obviously. And tomorrow, starting with a medium tyre, I think it’s good, it opens up opportunities that we can go pretty much as long as we want in the first stint.”