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‘I really wanted to deliver’ – Bottas proud to claim season-best grid slot in Miami after Friday shunt

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Valtteri Bottas was beaming with pride on Saturday evening in Miami, after the Alfa Romeo racer recovered from a crash on Friday to qualify in P5 for tomorrow’s Miami Grand Prix. And while the Finn was happy to qualify ahead of the Mercedes of former team mate Lewis Hamilton, he was particularly grateful to repay what he called “a proper team effort” to get his car back on track.

Bottas went into qualifying with limited knowledge of the new Miami International Autodrome circuit, after a shunt in FP1 confined the 10-time race winner to his garage – with extensive damage – until the third practice session on Saturday. And Bottas made it his goal to deliver for his team after all their hard work.

“It is satisfying [to qualify ahead of Mercedes] I think today, especially after the day I had yesterday,” said Bottas. By my mistake we lost a lot of running; it was extra work for the team, and it was a really nice recovery by a proper team effort.

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“Once the car was there, once we found the set-up for the quali then it was up to me to get up to rhythm and deliver. I really wanted to deliver for the team because of my mistake yesterday and that makes me even more happy.

“It was far from an easy day yesterday, not many laps but then we had a good practice in FP3, got a clear direction with the set-up and then it was all about me finding the rhythm lap by lap. And by the end of Q3 I found the rhythm.”

Bottas 'pleased' with P5 qualifying finish in Miami

Asked to look ahead to the race tomorrow, Bottas said he expected a “demanding” Grand Prix under the Miami heat. And while he ruled out being able to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull on pace, he backed his Alfa Romeo C42 to continue to perform well.

“Tomorrow, I think it’s going to be a big challenge,” said Bottas. “With the tyres in this temperature, with the cars, even for drivers, I’m sweating so much the body just cannot cool down in this humidity, so it’s going to be demanding. But I think we have a good race car as we’ve had every race so far this year, so we will be fighting up there.

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“It’s Formula 1, everything is possible, and we are not far off. I think realistically fighting with the Red Bull, Ferrari with the pace they have is tricky, but anything can happen.”

Bottas was certainly happier than team mate Zhou Guanyu, set to start the Miami Grand Prix in P17 after feeling like he was baulked by traffic in Q1.

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