Bahrain GP

Bottas takes first pole position in Bahrain

The qualifying session started with little action, the first to take to the track was Sauber with both drivers heading onto the circuit. The Sauber’s looking unlikely to get past the first part of qualifying, while Lance Stroll who has also been struggling went out in the Williams. He came straight back into the pitlane though, with the Sauber drivers continuing for a fast lap/

A 1:33.5 for Wehrlein was nearly half a second up on his teammate, with the majority of the field going out on the super-soft tyre. Mercedes and Ferrari would buck the trend though on the soft. Romain Grosjean went out for his fast lap and lock up heavily into the first corner, wrecking his lap in the process. His Haas teammate went quickest for a while before being eclipsed by Stroll.

The first of the leaders to set a time was Valtteri Bottas to go fastest by a second and a half, while Hamilton made a mistake in the middle sector and had to abort the lap. Massa was only three tenths away from Bottas, but on the super-soft. Verstappen then went fastest, again on the super-soft tyre, while Hamilton went for another lap and went fastest by just a tenth on Verstappen. Vettel went third with the soft tyres, and Raikkonen down in seventh.

Stoffel Vandoorne was late out in the McLaren with teammate Alonso in 10th. He went faster than his teammate who had now been demoted to 12th . Wehrlein was faster than the pair of them as well in the leading Sauber – a second faster than his teammate.

Raikkonen went out on the super-soft, while Haas were in trouble with both Magnussen and Grosjean in the bottom five. Grosjean went out with two laps worth of fuel on the super-soft tyre, and went immediately up to eighth fastest. Both Raikkonen and Hulkenberg responded to the Haas threat. Raikkonen had a scrappy lap, with debris coming from his car at the end of the lap, only to go third.

Palmer went up to seventh, with Alonso down in 11th. Kvyat also made an improvement in 8th. With everyone improving Sainz stopped on the side of the track at the final corner, saying over the radio there was ‘no power’/

Those who would head out in the first qualifying session included Sainz, Vandoorne, Perez, Ericsson and Magnussen.

The second part of qualifying saw little track action with everyone staying in the pitlane. Bottas set a 1:29.5 as the first time on the board, which was just two hundredths of a second slower than Hamilton. Ricciardo went third, but was a second down on the Mercedes, and Verstappen was only a tenth faster than his teammate.

The first Ferrari over the line was Vettel, less than a tenth down on Hamilton, with Raikkonen going fourth and three tenths off. He was on a used set of the super-soft tyres.

Fernando Alonso wasnt in the car with five minutes remaining, with the Spaniard not setting a time in the session. Stroll had also not set a time Williams, and went out with four minutes remaining and could only go 10th. Both Renaults went through though with Hulkenberg making his way up to fifth and Palmer in 10th. Grosjean despite his braking problems.

In the final part of qualifying it was Daniel Ricciardo who would set the benchmark, a 1:30.0 for the Red Bull driver. Bottas went over a second faster in the Mercedes, something Max Verstappen couldn’t emulate. Hamilton went slightly faster than his teammate to take provisional pole position. Vettel could only go third, with Raikkonen another four tenths down on his teammate in fourth.

With four minutes of the session remaining, Grosjean had the circuit to himself but could only go eighth fastest and nearly half a second behind Massa’s Williams. Bottas crossed the line fastest, with Hamilton losing time in the middle sector and wasnt able to beat his teammate by the smallest of margins. Raikkonen crossed the line behind Ricciardo, the Red Bull driver splitting the two Ferrari’s. Hulkenberg as in seventh in the Renault, and teammate in tenth.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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