Bottas: Baku sweet spot crucial to pole

Valtteri Bottas was relieved to have found the sweet spot at the most crucial time in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to secure a second pole position of 2019 just half a tenth ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc’s crash in Q2 opened the door for Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel, with the Monegasque having looked a cert for pole, and it was Bottas to capitalise.

The Finn made up half a second on his final flying run in Q3, partly thanks to a slipstream down Baku’s long main straight, but was also quick to point out his own contribution.

“I am really happy for pole, it is a nice feeling to get it on the last lap,” Bottas said.

“It was a nice last lap and like I said Ferrari have been really strong. Obviously Charles is out with a mistake but as a team we did a really good job to be where we are now after such a difficult practice.

“It is all about small margins and I did get a good tow on that last lap. Of course, the corners I have to drive as well. It is all about small details and I managed to hit the sweet spot.

“It was getting trickier and trickier and we are not supposed to race that late here but I got them to work somehow.”

Bottas may be out for redemption in Baku on multiple fronts.

He missed out on a victory last time out in China after qualifying on pole, while memories of last year’s heart-breaking puncture three laps out from a likely victory will also ensure the Finn is on double rounds of porridge come Sunday morning.