Bottas outfoxes Hamilton to secure Abu Dhabi F1 GP pole
Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the final pole position of the 2017 Formula 1 season, setting a stunning 1m36.
Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the final pole position of the 2017 Formula 1 season, setting a stunning 1m36.261 - 2.5s faster than Hamilton’s best time from last year’s qualifying sessions at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Having started from the front at Brazil last time out, Bottas has secured his first back-to-back pole positions in F1.
Sebastian Vettel begins Sunday’s race from third on the grid, starting alongside Daniel Ricciardo after the Red Bull Racing driver beat Kimi Raikkonen to the second row on his final lap.
Apart from the first free practice session, Mercedes has topped every session thereafter with both cars. The team’s pace in race simulations also seems ominous, and both Ferrari and Red Bull will have their work cut out tomorrow in their attempts to beat the Silver Arrows.
Bottas topped the first qualifying session, heading a Mercedes one-two as the team picked up from where it left off in practice.
Hamilton had set the initial benchmark, clocking a 1m37.473s lap to immediately beat his own fastest time of the weekend thus far.
Team-mate Bottas then hit back with a 1m37.356s time, going a tenth of a second faster than Hamilton who was unable to surpass the Finn’s best lap.
Raikkonen was within a tenth of the two Mercedes, ahead of Vettel, while both Red Bull Racing drivers occupied fifth and sixth –Ricciardo ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen by just 0.005s.
Both Toro Rossos and Saubers were eliminated in Q1 as their struggles around the Yas Marina Circuit continued. Brendon Hartley set the slowest time of all, rendering his impending 10-place grid penalty inconsequential having taken new power unit components.
Romain Grosjean was the final driver to lose his Q2 berth, having been dumped into the drop zone at the last minute as Williams’ Lance Stroll clawed his way into the next session by 0.013s.
Hamilton reversed the order from the first session, beating Bottas to the top of the timesheets as both Mercedes crossed the 1m36s border for the first time this weekend.
Bottas was first to set his time, but was immediately beaten by Hamilton’s 1m36.742s in the opening runs of the session. Bottas later closed the gap to just 0.080s, two tenths faster than Vettel’s third-fastest lap.
Raikkonen was further back, beating Ricciardo and Verstappen once more as Nico Hulkenberg spent most of the session challenging the Red Bulls.
Both Force Indias progressed to the final qualifying shootout, as Felipe Massa climbed into the top 10 at the last minute, at the expense of Fernando Alonso.
Alonso had spent the dying stages of the session battling against team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, but Massa’s late 1m38.565s lap eclipsed the McLaren driver by under a tenth of a second.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Kevin Magnussen and Stroll were the other drivers eliminated from the second session.
Bottas opened his account in the final session with a blistering 1m36.261, which Hamilton was unable to beat on his first run.
The pair retreated to the pits before commencing their final shootout for pole, where Hamilton set the fastest first sector time of the weekend.
However, the 2017 champion was unable to maintain his composure, suffering from a scruffy final sector to concede defeat to Bottas, who was also unable to go faster.
Vettel was a further 0.374s behind Hamilton, and must score at least three points in Sunday’s race to secure the championship runner-up spot.
At the last minute, Ricciardo leapfrogged Raikkonen to secure a second-row start for the race, while Verstappen starts sixth having struggled with setup issues throughout the weekend.
Nico Hulkenberg once more eclipsed the Force Indias, as the Renault driver seeks to help his team win the battle for sixth in the constructors’ championship.The intra-team battle at Force India continued as Sergio Perez narrowly beat Esteban Ocon to eighth on the grid, as Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10 in his final qualifying appearance in F1.
Raikkonen blames inconsistent tyres for lack of pace
Toro Rosso "really stressed" about losing sixth place