Valterri Bottas claimed his first ever Formula One Pole Postion as he beat team mate Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain.
The Finn set a new lap record on his way to top spot with a 1.28.769, just three hunderths faster than Hamilton. The Brit had been fastest after the first runs but messed up the second sector on his final lap, handing Bottas the honours.
Ferrari seemed to be in postion to challenge the Silver cars with Vettel keeping touch through Q1 and 2 but when it mattered the Mercedes were almost half a second faster than the Scuderia. Daniel Ricciardo split the red machines with P4 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen in sixth.
Bahrain was the first time that both Renault’s made the top ten shoot out with Nico Hulkenburg setting a great lap to be best of the rest in seventh with team mate Jolyon Palmer taking tenth. Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean in eigth and ninth completed the top ten.
It was another day of disapointment for McLaren as Fernando Alonso was unable to set a lap in Q2 after getting through the first session. Engine trouble was to blame and the possibilty of enginer replacement is no a real prospect. His team mate Stoffel Vandoorne was out in Q1 and was surprisingly joined by Sergio Perez in the Force India, the VJM10 struggling for single lap pace.
On his return and debut weekend with Sauber Pascal Werhlein beat his team mate Marcus Ericsson and also made Q2. The German has been receiving a lot of stick recently for his decision to withdrawn from Australia and China due to fitness. But it looks like a move that might prove to have worked well if he can continue these performances.
But the day belonged to Bottas who spoke at the press conference afterwards.
“I’m really happy. It’s the first pole of my career in my fifth season. It took a few races but I’ve got it and hopefully it’s the first of many. Big thanks to the team for giving me this car. We’re both starting on the front row and we have done a good job to focus on the evening conditions.
“It’s not an easy track to get everything right. It’s quite technical and it’s easy to have a lock up. It was a good enough lap for pole today.”
His team mate Hamilton congratulated him on the achievement as well.
Congratulations to Valtteri.
“He’s been working so hard and gelling with the team and today he was just quicker, he did a better job.”
Sebastian Vettel was happy with his performance despite the deficit.
“Overall I was very happy with how qualifying went and how the car felt. We had a few issues yesterday and we tweaked the balance in the right direction.
“I was very happy with my first lap but saw both of them were ahead. When I saw the time I was a bit down as four tenths was more than I expected. The next lap I tried a bit too hard everywhere as I had nothing to lose but it didn’t work. Hopefully we can do a bit more tomorrow.”
It sets up an exciting race for tomorrow under the spot lights in the desert. Race start is 4pm UK time, check local listings for more details.
Photo Credit: grandprix.com