OPINION: Why Mugello underlined the difficulty Bottas has stopping the Hamilton juggernaut
Irony is probably just another thing that Valtteri Bottas can do without right now, as his season continues to under-deliver after such a promising start when he won the opening race so comfortably in Austria. Coming off a disappointing showing in Monza, he really needed to turn things around in Mugello. And through practice, as he led Nemesis Lewis Hamilton in all three sessions, it seemed as if he was putting his previous experience of the 5.245-kilometre wonder-track to excellent use. READ MORE: 'It has to turn out well for me at some point', says beaten Bottas FP1 saw him lap in 1m 17.829s to Lewis’s 1m 17.927s (0.098s). In FP2 it was 1m 16.989s to 1m 17.196s (0.207s). In FP3, 1m 16.530s to 1m 16.613s (0.083s, with Max Verstappen separating them on 1m 16.547s). Relatively small margins, true, but not so small as some of those by which Lewis had beaten him for the pole in Styria (0.216s), Hungary (0.097s), Silverstone 1 (0.313s), Spain (0.059s), Spa (0.511s) and Monza (0.069s), or those where Valtteri had the upper hand in Austria (0.12s) and Silverstone 2 (0.063s).
When that form continued into Q1 – 1m 15.749s to 1m 15.778s (0.029s) – it looked like he really had turned the corner, figuratively and literally, even when we were talking fractions of a second. And even when Lewis went ahead in Q2, the gap was still miniscule ...
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