Following an exciting qualifying in Bahrain, Valtteri Bottas will start tomorrow from pole position for the first time in his F1 career.
It was a fairly slow start for Q1, as usual. The Saubers were the first ones out with Pascal Wehrlein in the lead, the German taking part in his first competitive session of the season. After 4 minutes, the only cars on track were both Saubers, Haas, Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll.
Valtteri Bottas was the first of the top teams to set a time, clocking a 1:31.041 with the soft tyre compound. He was a whole second faster than the lesser cars’ drivers on supersofts. The Finn was soon overtaken by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on supersofts. The Dutchman didn’t stay on top for long though, with Lewis Hamilton showing his excellence by taking top spot in Q1 on the soft tyre.
Kimi Räikkönen was the only one of the Ferraris and Mercedes to use both softs and supersofts. Ferrari didn’t think his soft lap was fast enough and they sent him out again, for nothing as it turned out, wasting a new set of tyres. As the session came to an end, Sainz was unlucky to lose power in the last corner, costing himself and Force India’s Sergio Perez behind him a place in Q2.
Eliminated in Q1:
16. Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso – 1:32.118
17. Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren – 1:32.313
18. Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:31.318
19. Marcus Ericsson – Sauber – 1:32.543
20. Kevin Magnussen – Haas – 1:32.900
It was again a quiet start for the session, with no cars on track for first few minutes. Finally Valtteri Bottas left to lead the troops into battle. Bottas broke the 1:30.000 mark with a time of 1:29.555, but was immediately deposed from 1st place by his teammate Hamilton who set a time of 1:29.535. Both Ferraris also went under 1:30 leaving the Red Bulls far behind in the dust.
After the first runs, both Renaults were looking good as Hulkenberg was on 9th and Palmer on 10th. In the end Hulkenberg shocked everybody by beating even the Red Bull to 5th place and Palmer remained 10th to advance to Q3, the Brit finally performing after spending the first weekends in the twilight zone. Alonso had got his McLaren to Q2 but wasn’t even able to drive in the session after his McLaren experienced engine trouble.
Eliminated in Q2:
11. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:30.923
12. Lance Stroll – Williams – 1:31.168
13. Pascal Wehrlein – Sauber – 1:31.414
14. Esteban Ocon – Force India – 1:31.684
15. Fernando Alonso – McLaren – no time
The Red Bulls were first out on track when the light went green, closely followed by both Mercedes. Bottas had a strong first lap with a time of 1:28.844, but Hamilton again stole the top spot with a lap five hundredths faster than Valtteri’s. The Ferraris were 3rd and 4th followed by the Red Bulls.
It was an exciting end to the qualifying as Bottas led the top six on their final attempts. Bottas improved his time to overtake Hamilton and, since the Brit couldn’t do the same, Bottas duly took his first pole position in Formula 1. Vettel took third while Daniel Ricciardo put his foot down to steal fourth place from Räikkönen. Verstappen was a quiet sixth.
Top 10 of the Qualifying:
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 – 1:29.545
5. Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari – 1:29.567
6. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:29.687
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