Bottas hoping for rain in race tomorrow

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Valtteri Bottas is banking on the Belgian Grand Prix being a wet race despite being caught out in the tricky conditions today during qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Finnish driver stunned the F1 world when he finished an incredible P3 in the last wet qualifying session at the Canadian Grand Prix. However, he could not emulate this form today and qualified a disappointing twentieth.

“It was very tricky,” Bottas explained after qualifying. “I think the track was getting better quicker than we expected and in the end the slicks were the right option. It’s easy to say afterwards, but we were on the wrong tire at the end.”

Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde were all able to make it through on the slick tire whilst Bottas and teammate Pastor Maldonado were stuck on intermediates. Despite the conditions hindering his qualifying effort today, the Finn is still hoping for wet weather in the race tomorrow.

“I still hope for some rain. Starting from so far back, it could be tricky in the dry. Rain can always mix things up, so it would be better for us.”

Williams’ season so far has been highly disappointing, scoring a single point in the opening ten races. However, Bottas has already proved this season that he can excel in the wet, meaning that if the forecast rain strikes Spa tomorrow, we could yet see the team fighting for points once again.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.