Valtteri Bottas drove like a man possessed during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, after astonishingly claiming sixth place for Sunday’s main event.
The Finn was comfortably best of the rest and even managed to out-qualify Charles Leclerc, making him the second Ferrari-powered driver on the grid.
If this achievement wasn’t enough to be proud of, the former Mercedes driver was just 0.049 seconds away from being the top Ferrari-powered driver, with Carlos Sainz only managing fifth.
Bottas has looked brilliant all weekend, at a venue he claimed a second-place finish at back in 2017.
Whilst matching that on Sunday won’t be likely at all, he does have his best chance for a long-time to finally get back to scoring points, with his last top 10 finish having come back at the Canadian Grand Prix, which took place an astonishing 11 races ago.
Alfa Romeo are in a real rut currently and desperately need points, with Aston Martin just three points behind in the fight for sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Bottas certainly has the pace for points on Sunday, given the fact he has now ended FP1, FP2, FP3, and qualifying in the top 10.
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Circuit is clearly one of the Finnish driver’s favourites, given the fact he claimed pole at the venue last season.
When speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the session, he revealed how “uplifting” the team’s best qualifying since the Miami Grand Prix is, and that the C42 has been “performing well” all weekend.
“It’s been a while since we had a result like this in qualifying and I think it’s really uplifting for the whole team, we’ve been performing well since the start of the weekend and we’ve been able to carry that performance on from practice one,” Bottas told Sky Sports F1.
It would come as no surprise that Bottas hasn’t appeared to have the same grip issues as a number of other drivers, with both Red Bull and Ferrari having been seen out of control and drifting over some of the kerbs around the relentlessly fast yet equally twisty venue.
Bottas was asked how the track conditions have been and if they’ve been a challenge for him considering the issues others are having; however, unlike everyone else, the track feels “good” to the 33-year-old.
“Considering the altitude and the smooth surface, actually it feels good,” he added.
“It’s been quite an easy car to drive in a way, the kerbing has been good and since practice one I’ve just had good confidence and we’ve started with the right set-up, we’ve only been fine tuning and building up from a good practice one.”
Given how good he’s looked all weekend, a points finish is surely a must for the experienced driver, something he thinks is very much possible given that he’s been “sixth, seventh” all weekend so far.
“I think so, based on all the runs we’ve done, low-fuel, high-fuel, we seem to be around sixth, seventh place so I hope tomorrow is a good day because we need some points,” concluded the Finn.
Bottas’ performance has led to some brilliant reactions on social media, with Tom Bellingham from WTF1 suggesting that “no one told Bottas he’s not in a Mercedes this qualifying session.”