Canadian GP: Valtteri Bottas says third was nice surprise

Valtteri Bottas said his stunning third-place in qualifying at the Canadian GP was a "nice surprise".

The Williams driver, 23, sealed the achievement in only his seventh grand prix to give his team a boost after a difficult start to the season.

The Finn said: "Very nice. It's good. Of course there are two more positions to gain but we should take this and be happy and focus on the race.

"Of course I am happy but there are no points given in qualifying."

Bottas surprised by qualifying third

Bottas, who was promoted to a Williams race seat after a year as their reserve driver in 2012, starts behind only world champion Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes.

But he admitted that with the likes of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso it may be difficult to hold on to the position in the Grand Prix on Sunday.

He said: "It's nice to be up there but the race is what counts in the end. But it is a much better position to start than in some previous races and even in some previous races we have been pretty close to the points, so it should be a great chance to get some points finally.

"It looks like the weather might be tricky again, at first they said it was dry but now it seems there is a chance of some showers.

"A good start is important and try to gain some positions.

Valtteri Bottas

Born: 28 August 1989, Nastola (Finland)

Height: 1.73m (5ft 8ins)

Lives: Oxford

Career summary: Started karting age six

2007: Started car racing in UK Formula Renault

2008: Wins Formula Renault Eurocup and Northern European Cup

2009: Third in Formula Three Euroseries, wins invitational Masters of F3 at Zandvoort, Holland

2010: Third in F3 Euroseries, wins Masters of F3 for second time; third in Macau F3 Grand Prix

2011: Wins GP3 series

2012: Williams F1 reserve driver

"After that we know it is going to be trying to keep as many quick cars behind me as possible because the pace in the dry what we saw in the long runs is still not quite enough for the top 10 so it is going to be tricky."

Bottas has said he will jump in the lake that runs alongside the paddock at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve if he scores the team's first points of the season on Sunday.

"I used to swim in the frozen lakes in Finland so it's no problem," he said.

His performance drew praise from Williams chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar, who said Bottas "did a perfect job".

Bottas has now out-qualified team-mate Pastor Maldonado, who won last year's Spanish Grand Prix, five-two this season.

"If we could give them a better car, both drivers have got potential," Pujolar said.

"Pastor won a race last year and, if we had a good car again, I think Valtteri can win a race.

"He has showed the speed and the consistency in the races even if you cannot really see from the outside because of the performance we had with the car."

Williams have brought front wing revisions to this race and believe they have made a step forward in performance, but Pujolar said the British Grand Prix in three weeks' time would be the acid test in determining whether they had definitely made progress.

Canadian Grand Prix, day three

  • Sunday, 9 June : Race: Coverage on BBC One 18:15 & Radio 5 live from 18:00; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. TV highlights 01:15 BST, BBC Three