IF you had an embarrassing mistake in China, the best way to right the wrong would be to come back a week later and secure pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix. As it turns out, that’s exactly what Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas did on Saturday.
The teammate of Lewis Hamilton had an answer for the British 3-time champion in the form of pole position spoiling Lewis’s run of two pole positions for the first two races of 2017. While Hamilton led in Q1, Q2 and the first run in Q3, it was Bottas who managed a record-breaking lap of 1m28.769s for pole.
Hamilton’s final run was marred by an oversteer catch on the final turn and a slower second sector than his previous attempt. This handed Bottas his very first pole position in Formula 1 after five years of trying and it prompted praise from his teammate.
“Valtteri is keeping me on my toes – he really deserved that lap,” said Hamilton, who lost time in the second sector and at the final corner on his final lap.
“A first pole position, it is just amazing – you dream that as a kid and tomorrow could be his first GP win ever.
“He did a great job.”
Perhaps the disappointment in qualifying was the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen who entered the weekend positive they were close to the Mercedes pace. Unfortunately, Vettel was nearly a half-second off the Bottas pole pace with Raikkonen further back. For Vettel, it was case of trying too hard as his first run was quicker.
The Red Bull’s, which looked improved this weekend in Bahrain, split the Ferrari’s with Daniel Ricciardo in 4th and Max Verstappen in sixth.
Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean managed to make it to Q3 but unfortunately for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, a Honda power unit failure will mean a grid penalty for Sunday’s race.
The overachiever moment of qualifying had to be the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg who secured seventh with a brilliant final run beating his teammate, Jolyon Palmer, by more than a second. Felipe Massa was the sole Williams in the top ten.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.545s||0.776s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m29.687s||0.918s|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m30.923s||–|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.684s||–|
|16||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.118s||–|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m32.318s||–|
Photo by: www.kymillman.com/F1