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Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas admits he is “p*ssed off” that Lewis Hamilton has the edge on him in qualifying. Hamilton has out-qualified his Mercedes team-mate 5-2 this season.
Each time Hamilton has started from pole, he has converted it into a race victory to put him 47 points clear of Max Verstappen in the World Championship standings.
“When that one lap counts, Lewis has been really consistent, not making any mistakes in qualifying,” said 31-year-old Bottas in the press conference after the Belgian Grand Prix. “As you look at the numbers, he has had the upper hand this year in qualifying, which honestly p*sses me off. But of course, I’m trying and I do enjoy the challenge and I can’t wait for the next qualifying session next weekend (Italian Grand Prix).”
The Belgian Grand Prix was a snapshot of the season as Hamilton led throughout from pole position.
“I will still keep trying to find anything from myself that I can and just really trying to perfect everything,” added Bottas. “On Saturday, I didn’t in qualifying. Lewis was on pole, he was faster on that lap and then in the race with that pole, he could turn it into a win.
“I think (in qualifying) I found it hard to match. Of course, it always comes from so many details, the out-laps, getting the tyres in the perfect window, front and rear, the set-up and driving style. Of course, the weekend really starts with qualifying, trying to be on pole and then those weekends that don’t go for you, you really need to maximise the points.”
Bottas insists he would rather “stay home” than give up the title fight.
“Of course I’m trying everything I can,” he added. “The fact is it’s not over. There are 10 races to go. “Obviously I had that one kind of a DNF with a puncture at Silverstone, lost points with that. If I would give up now then I would rather stay home, so I will keep pushing.
“Actually this week has been at least like a smooth weekend without any issues, just the qualifying wasn’t good enough but I’m working on everything. I’m trying but there’s still many positives I can take. I feel my race pace this year has been better than any year before, so that’s a positive, so I feel like always in the race I’m there and I can fight for it, so now it’s just about trying to perform better and more consistently in qualifying sessions.”