Bottas says he had no choice but to pass Verstappen

Valtteri Bottas said that he had no choice but to try to overtake Max Verstappen on his Q3 qualifying laps after difficult circumstances left him twice chasing the Red Bull driver across the line.

Bottas says he had no choice but to pass Verstappen
Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1 Team
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38
Steve Nielsen, Williams Sporting Manager looks at the drain cover that damaged the Williams FW38 of Valtteri Bottas (FIN)

Verstappen was left furious after twice finding Bottas attempting a move at Turn 1 as they began what should have been qualifying efforts.

Although Bottas understands that Verstappen had every reason to be unhappy because the incidents cost the Dutchman, he says that his Red Bull rival must understand that difficult situation he found himself in.

"You either abort, or you try to overtake, try to get back on your line and have a good lap with a nice top speed," he explained

"Today I was fighting for the track position a couple of times but it didn't work out."

Difficult choice

Bottas said that before the first incident at the start of Q3, he had not expected Verstappen to be going for a qualifying lap immediately.

And by the time he realised what the Dutchman was up to, it was too late for him to try to build up a bit of a gap to the Red Bull.

"I thought, and the team thought, that Verstappen was on a double out lap, as they had been doing all weekend," explained Bottas.

"I got the confirmation of that myself when exiting Turn 16. I saw his ERS lights flashing, so he was not in the [engine] mode yet. I was trying to get a good gap so I could get a nice slipstream to the lap and open the lap, but then he pulled away in Turn 19.

"So I found out at Turn 19/20 that maybe he was going for the lap and at that place you cannot back off any more as you lose all the straight line speed. So I thought the only option for me was to try to overtake.

"But it ruined his lap but also my lap. I got some dirt on my tyres and I don't even call that a lap – there was a lap time on the board that put me for P8.

"Then the second run I had the red flag with Lewis [Hamilton]. I went out again after the red flag, but I don't think the lap would have been mega.

"I felt with the tyres we lost quite a bit of temperature with the red flag, and there was just a bit of traffic. Everyone was trying to gain a track position and opening the lap I knew there was probably not much time left, so I didn't have time to leave a proper gap to Verstappen.

"Again I saw my only opportunity was to try to fight for the track position and try to overtake, but I couldn't do it again. Again it ruined my lap and his lap.

"I think it was really unlucky – and I was driven into really difficult decisions and situations today. Not my day at all."

When asked if he intended to speak to Verstappen, Bottas said: "I wasn't planning to. He lost something with that, but he has to understand that I was also fighting for my track position and for my qualifying result. It can happen I guess."

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