Valtteri Bottas showed in Portimao that he had fully recovered after Imola's crash, involving George Russell, and that he can be a serious contender to the championship title, by scoring both the pole position and the best lap time during the race.
After gaining the top spot during yesterday's FP1 session, and ending both Q1 and Q2 session in P2, he will start tomorrow's race from P3, with a 0.13s deficit to Lewis Hamilton's pole.
Bottas said to Sky F1 after the session that, if it wasn't for an "annoying snap" at Turn 10, he could have been on pole:
"Q3, run one, annoying because at Turn 10 I had a snap and I lost a bit more than a tenth, that obviously is more than the gap to pole, but that’s how it is when you are pushing the limits."
The Finnish driver was satisfied with his car's performance, but feels like he didn't get the most out of it: "Definitely the pace was there but I didn’t quite make the most out of it, but at least it wasn’t a disaster.”
Later on during the session, he had the time for a second attempt at improving his teammate's time, but, like most of the other drivers, didn't manage to improve his previous lap:
"There seemed a little less grip, maybe it was a little more windy or something? I was losing corner by corner and I could feel and see there was no chance to improve in run two.”
Regardless of the championship fight, Bottas praised Hamilton's historical and "well deserved" achievement of 100 pole positions in career: "It’s amazing, 100 poles is a lot of work, well deserved. I’m happy for him.”
However, he's focused on tomorrow, and especially on how to secure the win. In order to do that, he'll have to pay extra attention during the start of the race, a "crucial" moment, and take advantage of his teammate being in front of him.
Another important factor that could help him tomorrow in overtaking is the weather: "I’m hoping for a big headwind into Turn 1, that gives more of an advantage.""
"Track position here after the start is always so crucial, so full focus on the start,” he concluded.