Bottas Takes Second Pole of Season in Russia
SOCHI, Russia—R.I.S.—Valtteri Bottas had been outqualified by his teammate Lewis Hamilton quite a lot this season, but the Finn put all his resources together to record a 1:37: 387 fastest time to take his second pole this season, ahead of the Briton Saturday afternoon at the Sochi Autodrom in preparation for Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, Russia. Sebastian Vettel finished in third.
When one member of the press afterwards asked Bottas about whether the Mercedes pair will fight for positions in the race and the subject of team orders, the Finn simply replied that there was only one goal.
"My approach to the race tomorrow is definitely to try and win the race.” He said. “You cannot have any other goal starting from pole. It's just going to be, for sure, the aim.”
Bottas had been outstanding all throughout the final session, after placing second for the previous two sessions to Hamilton. But when Hamilton himself overshot one of the turns on the back straight, it gave the Finn more ammunition to stay ahead of his teammate. Hamilton finally gave up minutes from the end as he pulled into the pits, satisfied with his result.
Both Ferraris of Vettel and outgoing Kimi Raikkonen could not get any closer to either Mercedes, placing third and fourth, respectively for Sunday’s race.
Most of the Renault powered cars never continued to the final session, because of engine changes for race day. Both Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, got out of their cars in the second session, never making any more attempts in qualifying. Along with Fernando Alonso, who exited the first session, will begin the race at the back of the grid. Even more technical were both Renault drivers of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr., who both decided that the mixed grid because of the penalties, along with conserving their tires, would be better to exit the second session, hoping that they will move up after they both finished in 14th and 15th, respectively.
However, the day from fifth to tenth belonged to Force India, Sauber, and the American Haas F1 Team, as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez took Sixth and Eighth for the Silverstone team, Seventh and tenth for Charles LeClerc and Marcus Ericsson for the Swiss team, and for Haas, a brilliant fifth for Kevin Magnussen and ninth place with Romain Grosjean.
After realizing that the goal for race day is to win, Bottas continued by saying that he has a teammate that is comfortably leading the world drivers’ championship.
"But, for sure we, as a team, we're fighting for both championships.” Bottas stated. “Lewis (Hamilton) is leading the championship by quite a gap to Sebastian and a very big gap from me, so we have to keep those things in mind. My approach, starting the race, is trying to win, but we'll see how it goes.''
RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX
At Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia
Final Qualifying Results
1 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes – 1:31:387
2 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
3 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
4 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
5 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
6 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
7 Charles LeClerc(MON) Sauber
8 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
9 Romain Gorsjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
10 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
11 Max Versatappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
12 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
13 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
15 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
16 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso
17 Fernando Alonso (SPA) Mclaren
18 Sergey Sirokin (RUS) Williams
19 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren
20 Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.