Valtteri Bottas says that Mercedes were utterly unbeatable in the wet weather during qualifying, but he is confident that Williams will be closer if it stays dry for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The Finn, who already has three podium finishes to his name this season, admitted that the pace of the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had come as a shock to Williams, who expected to be closer to the current championship leaders in the wet conditions that prevailed during qualifying.
“We would have been better off in the dry,” he said. “I have to say [Mercedes], they were miles away from everyone [in the wet]. In the wet qualifying they were really, really quick.
“We could have been nearer if we’d got everything perfect, but not able to challenge Mercedes in these conditions.”
Bottas was 2.5 seconds adrift of the Mercedes cars in the final part of qualifying, and will start sixth, but insists that Williams will be much stronger if the rain stays away come race day, confirming that a podium finish remains the target for the team.
“I think we’ll be closer if it is dry,” said Bottas. “It is still going to be really difficult to challenge them but we should be able to be not too far off.
“It is not a disaster. If it is dry [during the race] we know that from this position we can have a good one. We have a completely dry set-up so we really hope it is dry tomorrow.
“If it is dry that should be the target [the podium],” he added. “It think it is possible if we can get everything right with the strategy and have a good start of the race.
“It would be good to get past the Ferrari and Red Bulls as quickly as possible. If we can get in front of them as quickly as possible then we can keep them behind and then have a clean run.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic