Bottas plots early attack on Hamilton at Spa

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Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium. Image: Mario Renzi /  Getty.
Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium. Image: Mario Renzi / Getty.

• Valtteri Bottas could not match the pace of teammate Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

• The Finn finished half a second behind the reigning champion at the Spa-Francorchamps track. 

• Bottas said he would attack Hamilton to keep Hamilton within his sights in the drivers' standings. 

Valtteri Bottas shrugged off his disappointment at qualifying second behind Lewis Hamilton on Saturday and pledged to attack his Mercedes team-mate in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix to keep alive his title challenge.

"I'm not too bothered as I know second place is a good place to start with such a good run up to Turn One," he said.

"I need to attack if I want to keep my title hopes there and nothing is over until it's over so I am definitely going to go for it.

"I know there will be opportunities to do it."

The Finn added that he had felt his second flying run in Q3 was a good one, but had left him wondering how six-time champion Hamilton could be half a second faster. Hamilton claimed his sixth Belgian pole and the 93rd pole of his career with a flawless track record lap.

"I had a bit of a lock-up at Turn One, but the second run was pretty good overall and felt good so I don't know where the gap to Lewis was..."

Bottas will have to fend off a strong challenge from Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the start of the race after the Dutchman qualified third with a strong showing in the final part of Q3.

"It's been a positive weekend for us," he said. "We came here and thought it would be really tricky, but to be P3 and so close to Valtteri - although we are half a second off Lewis - I think I had a decent lap.

"I ran out of energy a little bit but that's distributed all round the whole lap which is the best way to do it... Overall, I am pleased.

"If you look at the lap time to Lewis, I don't think we can fight them in the race -- but I hope the weather comes into play. If it rains, it will make it more fun."

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