|In qualifying for the Bahrain GP, Bottas captured pole ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton and rival Sebastien Vettel. It was the Finn’s first ever pole position in Formula 1.|
Co-championship leader Hamilton secured second place to enable a Mercedes 1-2 at the Bahrain International circuit. The Briton qualified just 0.023 seconds down from his team mate. Both Bottas and Hamilton completed a single run in Q1 on Soft tyres, a single run on the SuperSoft in Q2, then two runs on the SuperSoft in Q3. “We’ve done a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and really maximise the lap time in the car. We’ll enjoy this for a short period of time – but the main focus is the race. It’s all about getting the maximum out of the race,” Bottas quoted.
Hamilton added, “I was losing quite a bit of time through the first sector, which is unusual as it’s usually a very strong sector for me. Overall it was a great battle and that’s exactly how close qualifying should always be. It forces us to be on the absolute limit. Today we had a bit of a margin over the Ferraris but generally in race trim they seem to be a bit quicker, so we expect them to be closer in the race.”
Right behind the Mercedes drivers was Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. A Ferrari and a Red Bull occupied the second row. Vettel set the third fastest time of 1.29.247, while team mate Kimi Raikkonen took up fifth on the grid to lead off the third with a lap time of 1.29.567, ahead of the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Vettel couldn’t get the right feel of the car from the practice sessions due to his Ferrari F1 car sliding around too much. After some minor tweaks on the set-up overnight and the car felt better for Vettel in qualifying. At the end of the third qualifier, Vettel wasn’t too satisfied with the gap to the Mercedes cars, having qualified third fastest. ” I tried it all and maybe pushed a bit too much. This is a circuit where you can easily overshoot it. We were losing a bit everywhere around the lap, perhaps more than usual down the straights,” Vettel commented.
Starting on the fourth and fifth rows were Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, Williams’ Felipe Massa, Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer in the second Renault. Renault put two cars in top ten, thanks to Hulkenberg and Palmer’s seventh and tenth positions. It was Hulkenberg’s best qualifiers since Brazil 2010, although the track was a bit tricky for the German. Palmer, meantime, achieved his first top ten position in an F1 qualifying. “It’s my best ever qualifying; Q3 for the first time, and I’ve seen a full hour of qualifying, which is nice. I got my head down with my engineers and we made some changes before qualifying making the car much better. I didn’t put in a fantastic Q3 lap so it could have gone better, but we do stand a good chance to score points in the race.”
2017 Formula 1 Bahrain GP qualifying Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:28.769
2 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:28.792
3 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:29.247
4 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING 1:29.545
5 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:29.567
6 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING T1:29.687
7 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:29.842
8 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS 1:30.074
9 Romain Grosjean HAAS 1:30.763
10 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1:31.074