Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas believes he will have an advantage throughout the opening stint of the Russian Grand Prix as he is set to start the race from third place on the Medium compound.
Bottas’ team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who grabbed his 96th career pole position at Sochi, will start the race on the Soft tyres, following a drop zone scare at the end of Q2.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will also be equipped with the Mediums for the start and will line-up alongside Hamilton on the front row.
But Bottas, who went from third to first on the opening lap in Sochi en route to his maiden F1 win in 2017, is eyeing up a similar start this time around.
“I remember I started once in third here and I know what happened then so, for sure, I’ll try to do the same,” Bottas said.
“I really think I have the advantage in the first stint with the Medium, so there’s still all to play for.”
Speaking about his weekend to date, Bottas lamented he didn’t find enough gains from practice compared to other drivers.
“It has been looking pretty good all weekend,” the Finn commented. “Also, in Q1 and Q2 was all nice and smooth but, in Q3, to be honest, I don’t know.
“I found some gains but, obviously, the others found more. I think here it’s pretty sensitive with the tyres, getting it right.
“In the first run in Q3 my tyres were too cold, in the second run I don’t know, I just couldn’t go any quicker, so there are some question marks over there.
“I don’t really get it why I couldn’t match Lewis’ times in Q3. It just didn’t feel I wasn’t gaining much grip from the previous sessions.
“I think even in Q2 it felt better, so a few question marks for me about what really happened. But actually third is a pretty good place to start from. And I think I’m on the right tyre, as well.”