It was a challenging qualifying session for Mercedes at Spa that ended with Lewis Hamilton in P3 and Valtteri Bottas in P8.
Conditions were changing and evolving throughout the Qualifying session, with both the Wet and Inter tyres being used on Saturday.
Difficult Day For Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton finished the final segment of Qualifying in third place, to qualify on the second row of the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix.
‘It’s been a very difficult day for everyone, just trying to stay positive, focused and calm. Max put in a strong lap so well done to him, and George also did a great job. For me, my first lap was really good, but I lost some tyre temperature on the slow lap in between my runs, so I think there was a little bit left on the table with that final lap. You live and you learn, and I gave it everything I had today. But we’ll look to move forward tomorrow. I’m hoping for better weather and a dry day, that’d be great for the fans and also interesting to see where everyone stands with the wing level. We’ve tried to find the right balance between straight-line speed and downforce. It might not have been the best for today, but we’ll see tomorrow exactly how good it is. Nevertheless, we’ll do everything we can,’ said Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas Struggles With Tyre Temperatures
Valtteri Bottas was eighth fastest in Q3 after struggling with tyre temperature on his final lap. With his five-place grid penalty from the last race in Hungary, he will line up P13.
‘It was definitely a challenge out there and of course, I hoped for a better result. I think overall the session was okay and there were opportunities to get into the top three, but on the slow lap before my final attempt, I had some traffic coming through. So, I had to back off and lost the tyre temperature. From the very start of the final lap, I was locking the tyres because of the lack of temperature and the car felt on a knife-edge. Obviously with the grid penalty, it means tomorrow won’t be easy, but I’ll be fighting hard. If it is wet, there will be many opportunities, and if it is dry, we have a competitive car. It’ll be a big challenge but as we have seen, anything can happen,’ added Bottas.
Exciting, Dramatic, Challenging Session
Toto Wolff went through the full gamut of emotions as he watched on from the sidelines, enjoying the exciting, dramatic, yet challenging session.
‘That was a very exciting and dramatic qualifying. It was a difficult session, and it is always tricky to predict the weather here, especially when it is coming in and out so fast. In the end, we can be satisfied with P3 for Lewis and everything is to play for tomorrow. We have a strong race car, perhaps more set up for the dry. If the weather is like this, we might struggle a bit more, but otherwise I think we should be in for a good race. Valtteri will be starting outside of the top 10. He did pretty well through the session, on par with Lewis, but he struggled for tyre temperature on that last lap. So, it will be more a race of damage limitation for him tomorrow but with plenty of opportunities to score good points. It was a brilliant day for everyone at Williams, with Nicholas in P12 and George showing his talent in P2. And it was fantastic to see Lando was able to climb out of his car, after his scary accident,’ concluded Wolff.