Mercedes duo impresses as Bottas tops lap charts
MERCEDES driver Valtteri Bottas soared to pole position in a time of 53.377s at the modified Bahrain circuit. It would be the first time a Grand Prix would be hosted at the same circuit on back-to-back weekends.
Bottas’ single-lap time serves as the quickest lap in Formula One history. The Mercedes driver thanked teammates after he impressed under the Sakhir lights “Thank you everyone for your support, let’s do the job tomorrow!”
Mercedes’ other driver, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, shocked his team and the F1 community with a positive COVID test, keeping him out of a whirlwind week in Formula One.
Questions were asked as to who would fill the shoes in the stunning silver arrow, and promising 22-year-old Williams driver George Russell would answer the call made by the Constructors’ champions.
Russell showed his race-winning ambition in the practice sessions leading up to qualifying. “Really pleased but gutted to miss out on pole. If you told me I was qualifying in P2 last week I wouldn’t have believed you”.
“It’s going to be tricky… but I’ll see what I can do” he added.
The young British driver would end up finishing second in qualifying to start at the first row on the grid for the first time in his career.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen rounded out the top three spots, starting behind Russell with 0.05 gap.
The Red Bull driver was pleased with a second row start. “I’m pleased to be P3, I tried to be as close as I can, it was a bit closer than normal but I think the layout explains that.
“We’re also starting on different tyres so that will be interesting. I’m looking forward to it!”
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc put on a stunning assault to complete the second row in fourth. Racing Point driver Sergio Perez continued his remarkable form to qualify in fifth.
The qualifying results were staggeringly unpredictable as AlphaTauri driver Daniil Kyvat, who is fighting for his seat next year, crossed the line sixth fastest ahead of Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo.
F2 driver Jack Aitken and fellow Brazilian newcomer Pietro Fittipaldi, racing for Williams and Haas respectively, finished their first Formula One qualifying session with an early exit out of Q1.
Fittipaldi, racing in place of French driver Romain Grosjean, had a tough day in the Haas machine finishing in last place.
Mclaren’s Carlos Sainz qualified in eighth ahead of Kyvat’s AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll filled the last top 10 slot.