Valtteri Bottas came out of a “tricky day” in Montreal with third place on the Formula 1 grid for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, continuing his impressive record at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Since qualifying third for then-backmarkers Williams for his first Canadian Grand Prix in 2013, Bottas has enjoyed a good record at the race, taking podium finishes in 2015 and 2016.
A sign of Bottas’ rapid progress since moving up to Mercedes for 2017 came on Saturday when P3 in qualifying left him somewhat unimpressed, having struggled for pace throughout the final Q3 shootout.
Bottas finished six-tenths of a second shy of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the checkered flag, leaving him third also behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“I was really trying hard, but it was a tricky day for me. I struggled with the balance of the car and wasn’t really happy in FP3,” Bottas explained.
“We made some changes and the car was much better in qualifying, but then in Q3 when it came down to getting those last hundredths and tenths, the car became unstable again. I just couldn’t get that lap together.
“The long runs seem OK though, so once again, I’m expecting it to be very close in the race with Ferrari. It’s all about tomorrow.”
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.