SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- After settling for third on the grid for the Belgian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas said he has been unable to explain his lack of pace compared to Mercedes teammate and polesitter Lewis Hamilon so far this weekend.
The Finn was 0.5s behind Hamilton's record-equalling 68th pole position and was bumped from second position in the final moments of the session as Vettel improved on his lap time with the help of a tow from Kimi Raikkonen.
"First of all congrats to Lewis for the pole and his 68th pole, it's an achievement - I've only got two, so I've got a long way to go," Bottas said. "This whole weekend, for some reason, I haven't been able close enough to challenge for the pole. For sure Lewis has been really on it, but I'm slightly confused why I wasn't able to be close enough, I still need to find some answers for me.
"The balance of the car has been feeling really good but lacking overall grip and, on that way, losing a lot of time on the fast corners. I knew it would be tricky to fight for pole but it would have been nice to at least be second. Sebastian managed to get ahead and still it's second row and as a team we can do go tomorrow. Let's see what we can do tomorrow."
Team boss Toto Wolff said both drivers were on similar set-ups but that Bottas has found it harder to master the W08 -- which Wolff himself labelled a "diva" earlier in the year -- than Hamilton so far.
"What Bottas was suffering from was general lack of grip," Wolff said. "That was the main message. We could see there was not one particular corner, it's tiny bit every where in sector two. We need to find out what there is. We can see that there is a lack of grip.
"On the other side we have a driver that has had an exceptional day or exceptional frame of mind so I'm actually happy how he developed throughout qualifying. It was a second off this morning when the car was in the wrong place but he ended up five tenths off, it could've been three tenths."