Valtteri Bottas has never been out-qualified by a team-mate at the Red Bull Ring, and he is well aware he ideally needs to keep that run up if he is to start eating back into team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s already substantial championship lead.
“It’s a good track for me and the challenge is to keep it that way,” said the Finn, who says that at most tracks there is a corner here or there that you can never get quite right, but somehow this one has always just clicked for him. It’s a good time for it to come for Bottas, because as he admits: “The next few races for me are going to be really important. I need to close the gap to stay in the championship fight.”
He says he has analysed why he was off the pace in France last weekend, and “it’s good to understand it. “Driving style and tyre management, Lewis did a better job,” which he put down to a divergence on set-up. But he’s going to keep ploughing his own furrow on that front because he says there have been other times Hamilton has followed his direction come qualifying.
“This is my best season so far and the only slightly annoying thing is there have been small things at some races I should have done better.” As for the pressure to deliver a proper contest, he says: “It’s not pressure. I feel well supported. A lot of people are willing me on. I thank them for all the support.”