Bahrain GP: Valtteri Bottas seizes first-ever F1 pole
- Valtteri Bottas claims first career pole
- Finn pips teammate Hamilton in Bahrain
- Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualifies in third
The Mercedes driver pipped teammate Lewis Hamilton in the final moments of Saturday’s qualifying session posting a time of one minute 28.769 seconds, ending the Briton’s run of six consecutive poles stretching back to the United States Grand Prix last October.
Bottas has been on the front row of the grid on three previous occasions, most recently at the 2016 Russian Grand Prix for former team Williams, but he has never sat on pole.
“Obviously I’m really happy — my first pole of my career in my fifth season of Formula One. Hopefully it’s the first of many,” Bottas told reporters at the Bahrain International Circuit.
“It’s not an easy track to get everything right — it’s quite technical. It’s getting the lap together and the car well balanced … it was good enough today.”
Bottas will now look to seize the initiative and translate a first pole into a first F1 race win in what will be his 80th grand prix start on Sunday.
The Finn’s performance was praised by Hamilton who was denied a 64th career pole by a whisker — the Briton was just 0.023 seconds slower.
“Big congratulations to Valtteri — hats off to him,” Hamilton said.
“Valtteri found some great pace particularly through the first sector. I’m genuinely happy and it’s great for the team to be one-two.”
Mercedes first front row lock out of the season saw Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel have to settle for a third-place start on Sunday with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo lining up fourth.
Teammate Max Verstappen, who had topped the time sheets in Saturday’s final practice session, qualified in sixth place with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen a place above the Dutch teenager in fifth.
2017 Bahrain GP: Qualifying results
1: Bottas (Mercedes)
2: Hamilton (Mercedes)
3: Vettel (Ferrari)
4: Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)
5: Raikkonen (Ferrari)
6: Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
7: Hulkenberg (Renault)
8: Massa (Williams)
9: Grosjean (Haas)
10: Palmer (Renault)
11: Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
12: Stroll (Williams)
13: Wehrlein (Sauber)
14: Ocon (Force India)
15: Alonso (McLaren)
16: Sainz (Toro Rosso)
17: Vandoorne (McLaren)
18: Perez (Force India)
19: Ericsson (Sauber)
20: Magnussen (Haas)