Valtteri Bottas will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position
Bottas made the switch from Williams over the winter to replace retired world champion Nico Rosberg and was out-qualified and out-raced by new team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the first two Grands Prix of the season.
But the Finn took advantage of a mistake in the first sector by Hamilton to pip his fellow Mercedes driver to pole by just two hundredths of a second.
“I’m really, really happy,” said Bottas, who will start from the very front for the first time in his 80th career Grand Prix.
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“It’s my first pole in my career in my fifth season in Formula 1.
“It took a few races but I got it hopefully it’s the first of many.
“Big thanks to the team for giving me this car to drive it on pole.
“We’re both starting on the front row so I think we did a really good job this weekend, focusing on the evening conditions and managing to get a lot of lap-time out of the car in the cooler conditions.
“That hopefully will help us tomorrow.”
Hamilton admitted that his first-sector troubles were unusual given that it is a part of the lap he usually excels in on the Bahrain circuit.
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Valtteri Bottas produced a cool performance in the heat of Bahrain
Valtteri Bottas beat both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel to secure pole
And Bottas also admitted that the Sakhir track is a difficult place to drive.
“It’s not an easy track to get everything right,” Bottas added.
“It is quite technical and there are quite a few difficult braking points and turns-in.
“It’s easy to have a lock-up or miss the apex slightly.
“It’s about getting the lap together and the car well balanced.
“It was good enough for the pole today though.”