Valtteri Bottas is optimistic about his chances of a strong showing at the Belgian Grand Prix despite having to serve a grid penalty, given that overtaking is possible around Spa-Francorchamps.
The Finn was late on the brakes heading into Turn 1 at the Hungarian GP, hitting the back of Lando Norris' McLaren and triggering a chain reaction that damaged Max Verstappen's Red Bull, along with taking out Sergio Perez.
Bottas was handed a five-place grid penalty for this weekend's Belgian round as a result, however the Mercedes driver believes strong race pace will help him overcome the deficit.
"I think on this track, race pace is quite important if you compare qualifying pace versus race pace, so we need to focus on that," Bottas told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media. "Whatever we do in practice [we can't] forget that we still need to try and qualify well.
"I don't want to start outside the top 10, for example. Out of all the tracks to have a grid penalty, [Spa] is definitely on the good side of the list because you can overtake if you have the pace.
"Race pace is going to be the key."
As for the ongoing battle with Red Bull, Bottas expects it to once again be a close affair at Spa-Francorchamps.
"I think we'll be close," Bottas added. "It's impossible to predict nowadays and it's quite fine margins between the two teams.
"I think we take all the learnings we can from the last race, especially for me personally, and I'm sure it's going to be a good battle again."
In our latest video, RacingNews365.com takes a look at how Hamilton and Verstappen stack up in terms of their performances over the first half of the 2021 F1 World Championship.