Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has said he believes the Silver Arrows still have a chance of winning the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix despite Max Verstappen taking pole position for the race.
The Dutch ace secured pole by a margin of four-tenths of a second, but, with Sir Lewis Hamilton and Bottas qualifying second and third, respectively, a Verstappen victory is by no means guaranteed.
Speaking after qualifying, Bottas said it was “tricky” for him to compete against Hamilton and Verstappen with just one new set of soft-compound tyres in Q3.
He noted that they will all start the race on the same compound of tyres, as they all set their fastest Q2 lap on a set of mediums, but he believes Mercedes could have an advantage if he and Hamilton “cooperate” with one another.
“Now, we have two cars in the mix at the front against Max so I’m sure we can cooperate and do something good,” Bottas said.
Meanwhile, polesitter Verstappen said he is hoping for a “good, clean start” and said the long-run pace of his Red Bull RB16B looked good in pre-season testing and in free practice.
His new Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez failed to progress to Q3 and he will start the race in P11, leaving Verstappen alone upfront against the two Mercedes.