The Finn's previous best grid position at Albert Park Circuit had been 15th place, making this an auspicious start to his season. Not that you'd notice. He certainly didn't sound all that thrilled by the achievement when talking with the media afterwards.
"Well, you know, third position is not ideal. I think in general I'm not happy with the result," he sighed.
"Myself, I didn't quite get any really perfect laps in, so not that satisfied. But what I am really happy about - I'm proud about, like Lewis said - is what the team have done again have done with this car."
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Bottas only joined the team from Williams in January. He was a late replacement for Nico Rosberg, who shocked the world of motorsport with his retirement five days after winning the 2016 title.
That means the new 2017 Mercedes car was developed with a different driver than Bottas in mind. Not that it seems to have been any great setback in pre-season testing and now the race weekend.
"I only saw a very small part of the preparation with the new car in the new era of Formula 1. It's really nice to see that all the work has paid off.
"We're fighting at the very front. It seems to be very close this year, at least here."
Bottas was optimistic that Mercedes would be able to successfully see off its rivals on Sunday.
"Tomorrow is the day that matters. It seems like in the race starts we've been quite strong. Hopefully we can keep that form like we've had it in practice and have a nice and clean race. And get some points!"
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