Mercedes new recruit Valtteri Bottas clinched the first pole position of his career and will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after setting the pace in the qualifying race on Saturday.
Bottas edged out teammate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.023s after the latter topped the Q1 and Q2 races under the floodlights in Bahrain. Sebastian Vettel, with fastest lap of 1:29.247s, finished third in the qualifying race and now will start in the second row along with Red Bull's' Daniel Ricciardo, who was 0.298s slower than the Australian Grand Prix winner.
It was the first time in this season the two Mercedes drivers will start from the front row. Also, this is the first time the difference between the leaders and Ferrari has been nearly 0.5s. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth and will start from the third row along with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who gave a stiff fight to Hamilton in P1 yesterday.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg did well throughout the three sessions and finsished with the seventh fastest time as Williams' Felipe Massa finished behind him with just a 0.3s difference.
Bottas elated with first pole
Bottas, who finished on the podium in Australia, finished sixth in China after an unforced error, which saw him spin behind the safety car and slipped to 12th position. However, after having sealed his first pole position, which has pleased team boss Toto Wolff as well, the Mercedes driver is reportedly hopeful of coming up with a good show on Sunday.
Malaysia: Fox Sports
US: NBC Sports
UK: Sky Sports
Australia: Fox Sports
India: Star Sports
Japan: Fuji TV Next
Korea: SBS Sports
Russia: Sport 1
Middle East: beIN Sports