Valtteri Bottas says the risk taking he took to grab pole position for the Formula 1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix left him with the “shakes” at the end of qualifying.
The Finn had been locked in a tight qualifying battle with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the final qualifying segment at Imola, having been second overall after their first runs in Q3.
But Bottas managed to find some extra pace on his final run to snatch the top spot by less than one tenth of a second and seize a track position advantage on a circuit where overtaking opportunities appear to be limited.
Speaking straight after the session, Bottas said that he had been left exhilarated by having to push his car to the limit around Imola.
“It is never easy [to get] pole position and, yeah, I really enjoyed this track,” he said.
“When you push flat out, it’s beautiful. And I knew I had to improve in the last lap.
“I found those small gains that were needed and it’s a great feeling when you get those.
“I definitely had the shakes after, so it’s good fun.”
Bottas said he had particularly struggled with instability in the opening sequence of corners during the condensed weekend’s only practice session on Saturday morning, but had worked hard to improve on it in time for qualifying.
“For me, Turn 2 and Turn 3, that’s something that I was really working on today and only got there at the end,” he said.
“The last couple of corners as well.
“When I tried to risk and go for it, I struggled with instability with the car.
“But I knew in the last lap, I had to try. So I risked it and the car just managed to turn in nicely, and that’s good.”
But while happy with his pole spot, Bottas is well aware about how exposed he is in the long run down to Turn 1 after the start.
“Yeah, it’s gonna be a good fight,” he said.
“It’s one of the longest runs in the calendar in to Turn 1 so no doubt Lewis and Max [Verstappen] will be will be chasing me.
“But, yeah, it’s a good place to start, and hopefully the pace is good. So game on.”