Valtteri Bottas believes Mercedes can still fight Ferrari for victory in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix following an improved showing in qualifying.
While teammate Lewis Hamilton was knocked out in Q2 after a miserable qualifying run, Bottas managed to close the gap to Ferrrari by snatching third, with a lap just 0.045s adrift of polesitter Kimi Raikkonen. Bottas reckons Mercedes can fight with Ferrari for the win but admits he is hoping for a Safety Car to potentially throw the race wide open.
"I think we should be able to fight with them," the Finn said. "Here, normally at some time there is always a Safety Car and if that happens it will create opportunities. Hopefully we can follow them and then use any situation to create opportunities.
"It's a very short run down to turn one, so you really need to do a mega start to gain positions, but if there are going to be opportunities tomorrow that is, for sure, one of the best places to gain positions in this race. As a team, will try to gain anything we can, use any opportunity we are going to get tomorrow, starting, of course, with the start."
Bottas says Ferrari's ability to get the ultra-soft tyre into the optimal operating window more quickly than Mercedes has given the Scuderia an advantage around Monte Carlo so far this weekend.
"We can't seem to combine the front and rear tyres' temperatures at the same time, so it takes two or three laps to build the temperature up all around, to get the balance right and to get the feeling for the car. We got back on track in FP3 and in qualifying the car was the best I've had this weekend.
"Still, it felt very tricky in some places and it was very difficult to get the lap together, as we saw with the issues had with that and traffic in Q2. Altogether it has been a tricky weekend for us. Ferrari definitively has the upper hand this weekend, and well done to Kimi for the pole. Tomorrow it's the race and anything can happen."