Saturday qualifying at Monza was the very first time the new technical directive that outlaws the "party modes" was enforced.
Prior to the qualifying session, Valtteri Bottas, along with his teammate, claimed that the directive was aimed at slowing Mercedes down. The Finnish driver backed up the view that the change will free up better engine modes for the race, as the power units would not be so compromised on reliability by having to run at full power in qualifying : "I think in qualifying honestly there is going to be a small difference. It's not huge. But then in the race hopefully, it seems like we are overall going to have a better race time with a decent mode all through the race".
Coming into the qualifying session, it was yet another impressive performance from the german team, with the closest non-Mercedes car relegated 0.8 seconds behind Hamilton on pole, and Bottas as a close second.
Considering the Milton-keynes squad did not manage to qualify higher than fifth with Max Verstappen, Bottas teased: "I'm not sure how happy Red Bull is now with this engine change".
In the perspective of the race on Sunday, he said : "The pace I had in the long runs and we had as a team, we're looking strong. With the engine regulation change for the modes, it's going to be even better for us in the race than before. Hopefully it will be good”.
Talking about his flying laps, Bottas recalled: "I've been feeling pretty fast this weekend, so obviously a bit disappointed to be second instead of first. Ultimately it came to the choice, if I'm running first or second, to [go] first, because from our analysis, there shouldn't be much of a difference, or maybe even better to be first so you can really focus on the clean laps and not to have any messy out-laps. I just experienced once the final tow in the end of Q2, and actually it didn't feel too bad. That's when I got the quickest time, otherwise cutting the wind in the front. In the corners, I was fast. So it's impossible to say without seeing the data which one was better".