Bahrain Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas takes first career pole
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News April 15, 2017 Updated: 11:45 PM
SAKHIR, Bahrain -- Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas took his very first career pole ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.023s in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Bottas had a solid final run in the final minutes with a time of 1:28.769.
"I definitely feel now much more comfortable in the car, with the car than, for example, qualifying in Melbourne. So yeah, the more laps, the more time you spend with a car and driving it, you get to be more at one with the car. So, definitely feel better and better, like I said earlier. Yeah. Felt better here than, for example, last week in China in qualifying. It’s good. I need to keep doing that progress and keep trying to get better all of the time," said Bottas.
As the lone Ferrari against the two silver arrows, Sebastian Vettel, who was just 0.478s from the front, finished third. Vettel lost a chunk of his time in the first, second, and third sectors.
"I was very happy to go into Q3. Then I was very happy with my first lap. I crossed the line, looked up and saw both of them were ahead and then when I got the time, yeah, I was a bit down to be honest because four tenths was a lot more than I expected, also given how good the lap felt. Then, on the next run I just tried a little bit too hard everywhere but equally I had nothing to lose. I was quite safe also to cars behind. So I was quite confident, also the lap felt good as I said, so I tried a bit harder. It didn’t work; I went slightly slower. Obviously if I go a tenth quicker it’s not enough, so I tried to do a bit more but yeah, hopefully we can do a bit more tomorrow," said Vettel.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who took fifth by a paper-thin margin of 0.022s, with Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen in sixth. The Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, qualified seventh by 0.155s.
Williams driver Felipe Massa ended the day eighth ahead of Haas F1's Romain Grosjean who cranked out a mega result for the American team in ninth.
“It’s been great to turn around the day as we did. We really struggled in FP3. I couldn’t feel the car. The guys did a great job setting it up for qualifying and the car felt much better from the first run in Q1. That was good and I’m very happy where we are. We’re in a great place to start the race. Last year we started P9 and finished fifth, so anything is possible. It’s going to be a long race. Tire degradation is going to be a big thing here. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes tomorrow and seeing what we can do from ninth," said Grosjean.
Jolyon Palmer finished 10th for Renault, while Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat finished 11th, missing the top ten by just 0.024s. The Williams of Lance Stroll also missed the top ten and will start 11th on the grid. Pascal Wehrlein, who makes his return after recovering from his back injury made a strong and impressive result qualifying 13th for Sauber.
Force India's Esteban Ocon ended the day qualifying 14th ahead of McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso, who ended the day in 15th after running into an engine issue in the second qualifying session.
The second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz qualified 16th by 0.064s behind Alonso after his car stopped on track. Alonso's teammate Stoffel Vandoorne took 17th ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez in 18th.
Sauber's Marcus Ericsson in 19th and Haas F1's Kevin Magnussen in 20th finished out the rest of the grid for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.