Hamilton and Bottas give first comments on Russian GP Quali

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton managed to snatch another pole position at the Russian Grand Prix qualifying, while Valtteri Bottas took the second row.

Hamilton however faces a penalty for failing to return to the track properly after he ran wide at Turn 2. However, before the Briton was summoned to the stewards, he gave his first comments on qualifying.

“First of all I want to thank all the fans who are here, I missed the fans so much this season,“ Hamilton said.

“It’s really great to see, I hope they wear their face masks and keep themselves safe. When I walked out of the hotel this morning I ran into a number of fans with a Black Lives Matter face mask and that meant a lot to me.

“It was one of the worst qualifying sessions. It was horrible – heart in your mouth. I wanted to stay out and do a banker, but they said come in and get new tyres and then the red flag came out. It was a risk, we got through but I am starting on softs which is not good.

“Undoubtedly I am likely to get dragged past tomorrow, it will make it hard to win the race.”

After learning of his possible penalty Hamilton just said: “I have no idea what that is. But there’s always going to be something isn’t there?”

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Bottas was certainly not too satisfied with how qualifying went, as he lost P2 to Max Verstappen in the last seconds of the session, but he remained optimistic.

“I seemed to be in good shape all weekend,“ said the Finn.

“The speed was good and Q1 and Q2 went smoothly, but Q3… I managed to make some improvements, but the other guys clearly found more speed.

“This track is quite sensitive with the tyres, to get them just the right temperature. In my first run in Q3 my tires were too cold and in the second run, I don’t know, I just couldn’t go faster.

“So there are some question marks, but actually starting in third place is quite good here and I also start on the right tyre.

“I have already started in third place here once before and I still remember what happened at the start. I will certainly try to repeat that scenario tomorrow.

“I really think I have an advantage with the medium tire, so we still have all the chances ahead of the race,” concluded Bottas.

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