Bottas Wins Second Consecutive Pole in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates- R.I.S.- For the second time in a row, Valterri Bottas won his second pole and his fourth of the season as the Finn clocked a track record of 1: 36:231 fastest time, to beat teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel Saturday evening for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.
For the AMG Mercedes team, since the new regulations for engines have been implemented in 2014, it is the 50th time that the team have locked out the front row of the grid.
"I was so gutted in Brazil missing the win from pole," Bottas explained to ESPN F1. "I have a clear target for tomorrow and I'm sure the fans will support me. I managed to put it all pretty much together in the first run of Q3, that was a really good lap and in the end, it was good enough for pole. But tomorrow is the big day, so there's no point getting too excited today. Today is today but tomorrow is the day."
Bottas took the track record in the final session with many minutes to go, and even Hamilton could not defeat him even though, throughout the entire evening, the qualifying session belonged to Mercedes, who had been breaking track records all evening. Bottas took the first session with the first lap record broken at 1:37:359, while Hamilton returned the favor in the second session with a 1:36:742. But it was Bottas who ended up winning the last session.
For the rest of the top ten, Daniel Ricciardo was the last of the qualifiers in the final session to finish, which his best lap netted him fourth, while Kimi Raikkonen took fifth in the second Ferrari. Max Verstappen had a quiet session and was barely heard all evening, taking sixth. Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh for Renault, and Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon took eighth and ninth for Force India, respectively. Felipe Massa in his final formula one race, finished tenth.
But for Bottas, it was not just himself that won the pole, but the team that got him there.
"It's always a good feeling [to get pole] and this is only my fourth pole position in Formula One, but it was a very clean and good session for us, really seamless.” Bottas continued afterwards. “The team did a really good job with the time to send us to the track, we just had to do very minor changes during qualifying in the settings, really, so I just had to focus on the driving because the lap time was there.”
ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX
At the Yas Marina Circuit
Final Qualifying Results
11Valterri Bottas (FIN) AMG Mercedes—1:36:231—New Track Record
2 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) AMG Mercedes
3 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
4 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
5 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
6 Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
7 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
8 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
9 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
10 Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams Martini Racing
11 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren-Honda
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
13 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren-Honda
14 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
15 Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams Martini Racing
16 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
17 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso
18 Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber
19 Markus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
20 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.