Valtteri Bottas has ended Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s domination of qualifying to claim the first pole position of his career at the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The gap between the two was a scant 0.023 seconds in the final reckoning, although the early phases of the session suggested Hamilton would have the advantage.
With Mercedes turning up the wick to deliver extra power, Hamilton was fastest in both Q1 and Q2. He laid down an excellent benchmark on his first Q3 run with a 1:28.792 to edge Bottas’ own effort by just 0.052 seconds with a stronger final sector.
Opting to go out on a second run, Hamilton had a slower middle sector which allowed Bottas to capitalise and claim top spot with a 1:28.769.
After being fastest in Friday’s two practice sessions with Sebastian Vettel on top of the time sheets, Ferrari had no answer to Mercedes’ one-lap pace. Vettel claimed ‘best of the rest’ honours, but was almost half a second off the pace. Teammate Kimi Räikkönen was fifth-fastest, complaining of understeer.
Red Bull Racing couldn’t sustain its pace from final practice where Max Verstappen was fastest overall. The Dutch youngster qualified sixth-fastest, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo did well to split the Ferraris and claim fourth.
Renault has enjoyed a very competitive weekend thanks particularly to the efforts of Nico Hülkenberg, but both he and teammate Jolyon Palmer made it into Q3. Hülkenberg managed to claim seventh on the grid and Palmer was tenth-fastest after selecting the wrong engine mode on his sole flying lap. Williams’ Felipe Massa and Haas’ Romain Grosjean were eighth and ninth.
Daniil Kvyat narrowly missed out on a Q3 berth by just 0.024 seconds, losing critical time by understeering over the kerbs as he exited the final corner. The Russian will line up ahead of Lance Stroll, Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso once again outperformed the expectations of his McLaren-Honda to get into Q2, however his power unit failed as he crossed the finish line at the end of Q1. The Spaniard took no further part in the session.
His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne joined the likes of Sergio Pérez, Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz Jr in having an early bath in qualifying, all of whom could legitimately have claims to make it further.
Sainz was the trigger – on a hot lap good enough for a top-ten position, his Toro Rosso suddenly ground to a halt in the final minutes of the session. His stoppage triggered double-waved yellow flags, forcing Magnussen and Pérez to abandon potentially faster laps.
|2017 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – FINAL QUALIFYING SESSION RESULTS|
|Q3 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Tyre|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:28.769|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:28.792||+ 0.023|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:29.247||+ 0.478|
|4.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:29.545||+ 0.776|
|5.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||1:29.567||+ 0.792|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:29.687||+ 0.918|
|7.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:29.842||+ 1.073|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:30.074||+ 1.305|
|9.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:30.763||+ 1.994|
|10.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:31.074||+ 2.305|
|Q2 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap**||Tyre|
|11.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:30.923||+ 1.388|
|12.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:31.168||+ 1.633|
|13.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:31.414||+ 1.879|
|14.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:31.684||+ 2.149|
|15.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||no time|
|Q1 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*||Tyre|
|16.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:32.118||+ 1.304|
|17.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:32.313||+ 1.499|
|18.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||1:32.318||+ 1.504|
|19.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||1:32.543||+ 1.729|
|20.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:32.900||+ 2.086|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:30.814 posted by Lewis Hamilton
** Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:29.535 posted by Lewis Hamilton
- To be confirmed
Image via LAT Images