“We couldn’t match the Ferrari’s times today”.
“I was especially struggling with the rear end of the auto”, Bottas said.
“So far, so good”, he summed up. “We have to keep it going”.
Being first on the grid is Hamilton’s “party trick”, says Rebecca Clancy of The Times, and he will be aware of the milestone.
His attempts to maintain that speed into the final session failed to materialise, Vettel going even faster while Hamilton came off at turn four on his first attempt at a fastest lap.
“I don’t think there was any moment when we had a shot at pole”, he added.
“I think it’s hard to ever say it’s a turning point”, Hamilton, who could also equal Michael Schumacher’s record haul of pole-positions this weekend, said after the British race. The German’s 48th career pole is Ferrari’s third this year after Raikkonen also took pole in Monaco and while the Scuderia are still generally behind Mercedes over the single lap discipline, they have proved that they can take advantage on tracks where power is not such a prominent factor.
“I feel very much part of the team, I feel I can definitely perform at my best level”, Bottas said Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. They got everything right today and we still have work to do on circuits like this. “We did a good step forward, I like this track a lot and to have the auto in the right window, the sun and people around, that’s what it’s all about”.
When asked if Mercedes was on the back foot, Bottas said: “This weekend yes, we can see we’re not performing as we should, as we want so we have to analyse that”.
Meanwhile Bottas, who is also bidding to mount a serious title bid, said: “We have some work to do. We’re just hoping that we can be on our toes to react to whatever is thrown at us in the next races”.
After the second stint in his Red Bull, which is sporting an aerodynamic upgrade for the race, Ricciardo said he was confident he could put the vehicle on pole on Saturday.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was “best of the rest” in seventh, but will start 12th after picking up a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Fernando Alonso was eighth for McLaren ahead of fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and his McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
The damage to the Haas was so severe that Kevin Magnussen, whose auto Giovinazzi had been commandeered, was able to set just 11 laps after his mechanics finished repairing his vehicle late in free practice two.
Williams on Saturday promoted former Force India driver Paul di Resta in place of the unwell Felipe Massa, per BBC Sport, although the Briton only finished qualifying 19th out of 20.