Bottas edges Hamilton to Bahrain pole position

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Valtteri Bottas has taken his first pole position for Mercedes AMG F1, narrowly edging team mate Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel qualified in third position, nearly half a second down on the dominant Mercedes cars.

The session kicked off with Lance Stroll and both Sauber drivers venturing out on track early. While both Saubers immediately went down to business and set timed laps on their super soft tyres, Stroll was out for a single reconnaissance lap on used medium tyres.

Few minutes later, Bottas set the first really competitive time on his first attempt on softs. Hamilton attempted the same, but needed a second lap on his set following an off at turn 10. That lap was was well ahead of anybody else, following which Vettel and Verstappen slotted in behind him.

After the first runs, the top 6 remained in the pits, but Raikkonen, who also did his first flyer on softs, emerged back out on track later in the first session. The supersofts allowed him to improve from 7th to 3rd, even though he went quite wide over the kerbs on the exit of Turn 4, resulting in a carbon fibre piece flying off the Ferrari.

Positions shuffled a lot in the closing minute of the first session but when the chequered flag fell, Alonso was the slowest man to make it through in 15th. Sainz was eliminated after he was unable to complete his attempt due to technical problems. Vandoorne was 17th, ahead of Perez, Ericsson and Magnussen.

In the second part of qualifying, with everybody out on supersofts, both Mercedes drivers went atop the timesheet early on. Vettel came to within 0.061s of Hamilton, but Raikkonen was 3 tenths downs. Both Red Bulls followed in 5th and 6th.

A little less than 10 minutes later, positions 11 to 15 were settled as well. Kvyat ended up 10th after a scruffy lap, ahead of Stroll. Wehrlein qualified 13th, thereby comfortably beating his team mate at Sauber after having been absent in the last two races. Ocon ended up 14th, ahead of Alonso who was unable to set a time in Q2 due to a power unit issue.

In the final top-10 shootout, Hamilton initially topped Bottas, Vettel and Raikkonen, but it was Bottas who went another tenth quicker on his second outing to snatch pole away from his team mate. Ricciardo similarly did an amazing second lap to jump ahead of his teammate and Raikkonen as well.

Nico Hulkenberg once again proved to be a strong contender in the Renault, topping Massa for 7th position.


177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:31.0411:29.5551:28.76912
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:30.8141:29.5351:28.79213
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1:31.0371:29.5961:29.24712
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:31.6671:30.4971:29.54512
57Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:30.9881:29.8431:29.56716
633Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:30.9041:30.3071:29.68712
727Nico HulkenbergRenault1:31.0571:30.1691:29.84215
819Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:31.3731:30.6771:30.07412
98Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:31.6911:30.8571:30.76316
1030Jolyon PalmerRenault1:31.4581:30.8991:31.07415
1126Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:31.5311:30.923-12
1218Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:31.7481:31.168-12
1394Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari1:31.9951:31.414-15
1431Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:31.7741:31.684-12
1514Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:32.054--8
1655Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:32.118--5
172Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda1:32.313--8
1811Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:32.318--7
199Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:32.543--9
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:32.900--8