"I'm going out there doing laps, I was struggling to get to the limit, find the limit in certain sectors and Valtteri was miles ahead really in some of those areas".
It could have been different for Bottas had Esteban Ocon not pulled his Renault over to the side of the track while the Finn was on an out lap. "Run one was okay, but not ideal".
"It's disappointing because the speed has been good all weekend".
"For sure it [Ocon spinning off] had an effect". But while the world champion displayed his usual finesse, he had been behind the curve all weekend until he proved again that he brings more than just racing instinct to the track.
"But there's two types of luck, unlucky or lucky".
"So [it felt like] the pressure was higher than ever because if I hadn't done the work then I wouldn't have got the result that we got at the end".
Ocon's spin ruined the laps of all those behind him, including Bottas but also disappointed drivers such as Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo.
"You try and push the limit through the session and I felt comfortable in the vehicle", Ocon told Sky Sports. "I wouldn't expect massive changes going into tomorrow in terms of pace and vehicle behaviour but racing is racing and anything can happen as we saw in Monza". "Everyone pushes hard on this track and it bites you when you go over [the limit]".
Mugello, which is owned by Ferrari, is staging a Formula One grand prix for the first time.
The meeting has been a learning process for all and Hamilton said he had improved his time by studying after Friday's session. "This track is phenomenal, but it is incredibly challenging, too". Valtteri was quicker than me all day yesterday and even this morning and even in Q1. There is one heavy braking zone, at the end of the start-finish straight, and the top teams will likely try and make a one-stop strategy work.
"And for this one, we went on the simulator, which I never do, and [I] don't feel like I benefitted particularly".
Max Verstappen was unable to challenge Mercedes - the Dutchman finishing third, 0.365 sec behind Hamilton - with his Red Bull team-mate Alexander Albon fourth.
"Valtteri did a great job pushing me, but I'm really, really happy [to be on pole]".
But it was Charles Leclerc who was arguably the standout performer of the day with a sublime lap to claim fifth on the grid for Ferrari ahead of the Scuderia's 1000th world championship race.