Valtteri Bottas has taken the blame for missing out on a front row start for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Bottas missed the majority of final practice on Saturday morning when Mercedes was forced into a power unit change after detecting a water leak overnight. The Finn ultimately qualified third, 0.224s behind teammate and polesitter Lewis Hamilton and was beaten by Sebastian Vettel to second.
Despite those issues, Bottas took most of the blame for his qualifying showing.
"No, it was more with myself,'' Bottas replied when asked whether the issues faced were car related or down to him. "The team has done an amazing job with the car, managing to battle so close with Ferrari. For most of the weekend we were quicker but in Q3 they started to up their game and we were slightly in trouble with them, especially me."
With Bottas' late engine change, he was forced to use the same engine which was used in the first four races of the season, which he admits hampered his chances.
"For me starting the day with the engine change to the old engine, so I was always going to be on the back foot. I was struggling, in qualifying, with the rear stability of the car all day, lacking in stability. There were many issues and it was difficult to find a good rhythm, from one qualifying session to another as I normally do, as in just every lap the car felt a little bit different."
Bottas stormed to his first grand prix win from third on the grid last time out after making a strong start in Sochi, though he is wary that a repeat will be more tricky in Spain.
"For sure we have a much shorter run into Turn 1 than into Sochi's Turn 2, so it's always trickier, but, still, if you have a good start you can gain places. We've seen in the past, many times, People starting from the second and even third row making many positions us. Anything is always possible, but I cannot always rely on a good start. For sure the other guys are going to have good starts as well at some point. As a starting point everything is still wide open and we feel our race pace is good, so I'm still upbeat for tomorrow."