Valtteri Bottas says a glazed front-right brake disc prevented him from “maximising the potential” of his Mercedes Formula 1 car during Styrian Grand Prix qualifying.

Bottas was off the pace in a wet qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring as he ended up nearly 1.5 seconds behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who stormed to a dominant pole position.

The Finn, who leads the 2020 championship by 13 points over Hamilton following his win in Austria last weekend, could only set the fourth-fastest time and was outpaced by both Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren driver Carlos Sainz.

“It was not easy and I didn’t look to be fourth on the grid but obviously tricky conditions can bring different challenges,” Bottas said.

“For me personally I just wasn’t able to build enough temperature into the tyres.

“The reason was my front right brake was glazing throughout the qualifying, so I couldn’t really maximise the potential of the car in qualifying - which is really important for the confidence in the wet conditions.

“It made it quite tricky and for sure it’s disappointing.”

The Mercedes duo were hampered by gearbox-related reliability issues at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix but the German manufacturer has been working to fix the problem between the two races at the Red Bull Ring.

Asked if he is confident the issue will not resurface during Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix, Bottas replied:  “I really hope so, it would be nice to go flat out.

“But it’s something we will find out tomorrow because we haven’t done a race distance in practice. We know the car is quick, which is important.”

 

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