Bottas edged Hamilton by just 0.012s, but that was enough for the Finn to take his maiden pole of the season.
“I’ve definitely missed the adrenaline rush and the feeling you get from pushing these machines to the limit,” said Bottas after the qualifying.
“I finally managed to unlock some performance from myself and from the car for the qualifying.
“There were certain corners that I sometimes got right, but mostly I was just a bit off, so just through the qualifying, I managed to build the confidence and found areas that I was missing and managed to get some good laps and put the pieces together.
“I think there was a bit more time on the table. I think I was slightly up on my second lap until I ran a bit wide in Turn 4 on the gravel and went off the track. So that was my mistake. It wasn’t quite perfect but obviously, it was super close with Lewis…
“I’m just surprised with the gap to the other teams. It just shows the amazing strength of this team, and it’s really impressive.”
Although Mercedes proved to be dominant through all practice sessions and in qualifying, Bottas is still not dismissing the competition.
“For sure, race and long runs, it’s always a different story and we’ve seen many times that Red Bull have had a good race car and the race depends on so many different things.
“We don’t take anything with the mentality that it’s going to be easy for us. We are prepared for a threat from other teams, not just the two of us.
“And we do expect it,” concluded the Finn.