Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas says he can “definitely fight” for a spot in Q3 on Saturday evening in Bahrain based on the pace delivered by his C42 in FP2.
Bottas suffered a miserable start to his day on Friday, managing just two laps in FP1 due to an engine misfire that was traced to an electrical issue.
But a clean session in the evening allowed him to get down to work and achieve the seventh fastest time of FP, 1.015s adrift of pacesetter Max Verstappen.
The Finn was cautious as he assessed his performance given the unknown settings or engine modes of his rivals, but reckoned that making the Q3 cut this evening is possible.
“I would like to say where we are exactly, but the truth is, I don’t know,” he said. “It’s close and you don’t know how turned up different teams are.
“When we look at all the GPS data tonight, we will get some kind of understanding.
“But for me, the positive thing is it seems like we’re not far off. And I honestly think if we can find improvements, we can definitely fight for top 10.”
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Bottas enjoys a remarkable track record in qualifying, having made the Q3 cut on all of his 101 starts with his former team, Mercedes.
The Finn hopes that Alfa’s reliability issues that undermined part of its running in pre-season testing are now behind the Swiss outfit.
“I hope these start to be the last issues we’re finding. Time will show,” he said.
“But absolutely, when the car works, especially on high fuel, it has a really nice balance and good to drive.
“Definitely potential is there and I don’t think the lap times is far off as well.
“Even if you calculate how much somebody can improve, I think we’re still looking into hopefully – if we find a bit more – to fight for the top 10.
“It will be nice to keep my streak going.”
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