Lewis Hamilton qualified second behind Valtteri Bottas (right)
Bottas secured his first ever F1 pole position when he beat Lewis Hamilton by just 0.023 seconds during today’s qualifying session.
It means the Finn will set up on the ‘clean’ side of the grid which is on the racing line while his Mercedes team-mate will have to contend with the more slippery side.
But Hamilton knows from past experience that he can still get away well and has a chance of beating Bottas into Turn One.
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“Time will tell [whether being on the dirty side at the start will hurt],” Hamilton said.
“As far as I’m aware it generally is a little bit dirtier on that side of the grid.
“But I think in the past I’ve got the lead from second with Nico [Rosberg] on pole years ago and I think he got a good start from there on me last year.
“On his side would be better but not massively I hope.”
Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid in Bahrain for the first time this season with joint-leader of the World Drivers’ Championship Sebastian Vettel in third.
Hamilton had expected the German to be his main rival and was chasing a seventh consecutive pole but claimed he was happy to have grabbed second behind his team-mate.
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Valtteri Bottas will have both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel racing to Turn One behind him
“I’m not disappointed!” Hamilton added.
“Obviously when I finished the lap I was like ‘dammit, that time got away from me’ but generally I’m really happy for Valtteri.
“It’s his first pole position and it’s always good to see good things happen to good people.
“He did a better job today and I’ll do better moving forwards.
“It wasn’t a terrible job – it was only a quarter of a tenth separating us.
“We’re still 1-2 which is great for the team and hopefully I can give him a good battle tomorrow.”