Valtteri Bottas delighted to take Williams to third on the grid at Canadian GP
Finnish rookie stuns big guns to take third on Montreal grid
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 08/06/13 10:04pm
Valtteri Bottas admits his out-of-the-blue surge to third on the grid for the Canadian GP will act as a morale boost to the underperforming Williams team - although the young Finn concedes converting it into a similarly strong result in a dry race will be tough.
The Grove-based outfit have endured a surprisingly wretched, and point-less, start to 2013 with their troublesome FW35 and before Saturday's qualifying session had become more accustomed to losing a car in Q1 than making it all the way through to the top-ten shootout.
But in changeable wet conditions that put the whole field to the test during qualifying, Bottas showed a first headline glimpse of the talent that last year led Sir Frank Williams to label him as a future World Champion as he set the fourth-fastest times in Q1 and Q2 before going one better in the all-important final stage to beat Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber to head up the second row.
Williams' best 2013 grid position had been 14th prior to their arrival in Canada and Bottas duly acknowledged third place was naturally above and beyond their expectations.
"It means a lot," the former GP3 Champion said in the post-qualifying press conference.
"It's way more up on the grid than we really could ever imagine. It's been such a difficult first six races for us and it will be a nice boost for the team."
Speaking to Sky Sports F1's Rachel Brookes a little later, the 23-year-old praised the Williams pitwall for the smooth way they handled the tyre strategy during all three knockout phases.
"It was a difficult session and you really needed to be at the right time with the right tyre pressures and it really mattered a lot that you get the best lap out of the car when the track is at its best," Bottas said.
"With the team today the communication went really well, we always had a nice set of tyres at the right time, and that was the result."
While making no secret of the fact that Williams wouldn't have qualified so spectacularly without the intervention of rain, Bottas nonetheless set the target of opening his F1 points account on Sunday.
"I think the conditions helped us today. If it's dry tomorrow it's going to be very difficult and we know our speed still doesn't yet quite match the top ten or the top eight, so it's going to be a hard race but we will do our best," the Finn acknowledged.
"That's what I'm here for, to get points, so that should be the aim."