Valtteri Bottas has claimed his first Formula 1 pole at the Bahrain GP 2017 qualifying this evening. “Woo! Thanks guys, really happy,” shouted the Finn from the cockpit. Hamilton was second, Vettel claimed the final spot on the podium.

“I got screwed, the rear tyres were too cold to prepare the lap,” said Verstappen who finished in P6.

Bahrain GP 2017 Qualifying Results

1. Bottas – Mercedes
2. Hamilton – Mercedes
3. Vettel – Ferrari
4. Ricciardo- red Bull
5. Raikkonen – Ferrari
6. Verstappen – Red Bull
7. Hulkenberg – Renault
8. Massa – Williams
9. Grosjean – Haas
10. Palmer – Renault

Sauber was the first to head out in Q1, with both Wehrlein and Ericsson taking on super soft Pirelli tires. First time on the clock was set by Wehrlein on 1m33.502s, and immediately the track became a beehive with more drivers joining in. Fastest times came from Ocon, then Stroll before Bottas stamped a 1m31.041s.

Verstappen then went fastest with a much quicker 1m30.904s, but Hamilton smashed a 1m30.814s to take provisional P1. The Brit was on soft tires, the Red Bull was on supersofts. Vettel also beat Bottas’ time on soft tires.

The chequered flag flew and the last five drivers hurried to make a last minute save out of the drop zone. “No power! no power!” That was Sainz after his car stopped abruptly. Hamilton went ahead to win Q1 leading Verstappen, Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Hulkenberg, Massa, Palmer, Kvyat and Ricciardo in the top ten. Eliminated in this session were Sainz, Vandoorne, Perez, Ericsson and Magnussen.

Slow start for Q2, there was little action when the lights went green. Bottas headed out first followed by his Mercedes team mate. The Red Bulls followed and soon the all the drivers were out besides Stroll and Wehrlein. Both Hamilton and Bottas started on the race tire, a supersoft for the Mercs.

Hamilton’s 1m29.535s put him in P1, followed by Bottas, Vettel and Raikkonen. Verstappen was further down in fifth.

The top seven retracted to their garages, comfortable with their times while the rest ventured out to attempt better times. Alonso did not set a time in this session, the McLaren driver was P15 before heading back to the pits. The flag flew and Kvyat, Stroll, Wehrlein, Ocon and Alonso were all eliminated. The top ten comprised of Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Massa, Grosjean and Palmer.

Alonso later confirmed that his McLaren broke the power unit.

The Red Bulls were first out in Q3, followed closely by the Silver Arrows with Ricciardo setting the benchmark on 1m30.007s. “I’m still struggling like crazy with the understeer,” said Raikkonen who was yet to set a proper time.

The drivers went out for a final round and this time it was Bottas who claimed the top spot! A 1m28.769s ensured that Bottas broke Hamilton’s streak of six straight poles since US GP last year.

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