Bottas surprised with top three qualifying result

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Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he is surprised to have qualified third for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix given the nature of the Hungaroring circuit.

The Finnish driver is currently enjoying a three-race podium streak, but he did not appear to stand much chance of extending it when the Williams cars struggled to even finish inside the top ten during practice.

However, in qualifying, Bottas appeared to find another gear and eventually finished third in Q3 despite the tight Hungaroring circuit not suiting the FW36 car.

“I think maybe it’s a little bit of a surprise,” he accepted. “We knew that Red Bull are going to be really quick here and also Ferrari and obviously Mercedes like always.

“The nature of the track in theory is not the best for us, but we’ve been able to work well as a team to bring some updates which really worked well.

“Obviously we’re still missing some grip compared to some other cars but today was, I think, a really good day from us. Third and sixth, we have a good chance also here to get some really good points.”

Bottas will start one place behind Sebastian Vettel on the grid and one place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, and he is expecting to enjoy a race-long fight with the Red Bulls in Hungary tomorrow.

“Tomorrow it’s going to be a really close fight with Red Bull and us,” Bottas said. “So we need to see how the pace is.

“If it’s enough, keeping them behind us, at least one of them, that would be good.”

Vettel joked about the speed of Bottas’ car, saying: “In a Williams, I guess it’s fantastic down the straights!” when asked about the difficulty of overtaking at the Hungaroring.

You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET tomorrow.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.