Bottas proud after Top 10 qualifying effort

Valtteri Bottas

An impressive qualifying performance from Valtteri Bottas will see the Alfa Romeo Sauber driver start the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix from sixth on the grid.

The Finn will share the third row with his former team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, and three places clear of George Russell, the man who replaced him at Mercedes.

All new regulations for 2022 promised a mixed up pecking order, with qualifying offering clues as to the shape at least the early part of the season will take.

While Red Bull and Ferrari appear the class of the field, Bottas’ efforts suggests Alfa Romeo Sauber has been one of the big improvers.

“P6 is good for us. I think we did know that, if we get everything right, we have a chance to get to Q3, but it was extremely close,” Bottas said.

“I got some good laps in there and [my] Q3 lap I was really, really pleased with that.”

Alfa Romeo Sauber comes off the back of a disappointing 2021 campaign in which is scored just 13 points and finished ninth in the constructors’ championship.

Saturday’s performance in Bahrain is therefore something of a morale booster for the Swiss-squad and, according to Bottas, there’s reason to be optimistic heading into the race.

“I’m proud of the team, everyone in the team and also in the factory,” said the Finn.

“I think our race pace, if anything, it has looked actually better than single lap pace.

“Ferrari and Red Bull, I feel like they’re a bit out of reach for everyone, but who knows? Maybe we can battle with Mercedes. That would be fun.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2022 F1 season, starts at 02:00 AEDT on Monday.

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