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Mercedes’ Bottas On Bahrain Pole

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 15 2017

Romain Grosjean cracked the top 10 in qualifying for Sunday’s F1 race. (Steven Tee/LAT file Image)

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas took the pole for Sunday’s Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday.

Bottas’ fast lap of 1:28.769 set a new track qualifying record and was .023 of a second better than runner-up and teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Sabastian Vettel of Ferrari qualifying third fastest.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took fourth ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton held the previous track qualifying record of 1:29.493 set last year in Q3, and Bottas’ pole-winning time beat it by .724 of a second. This is Bottas’ first career Formula One pole and the Bahrain Grand Prix will mark his 80th career start.

Romain Grosjean led America-based Haas F1’s effort by advancing to the third round of qualifying and then earning P 9 on the starting grid.

Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen qualified 20th.

Grosjean set the 11th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:31.691 and Magnussen was 20th quickest with a lap of 1:32.900. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2.  

 Grosjean was able to advance to Q2 and Magnussen was on track to do the same until the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr. stopped prior to the final corner. The resulting caution period thwarted Magnussen’s lap, preventing him from improving his time.

 In Q2, Grosjean earned the ninth fastest time with a lap of 1:30.857, which was a .834 of a second improvement from his Q1 time. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 move on to Q3.

“It’s been great to turn around the day as we did,” Grosjean said. “We really struggled in FP3. I couldn’t feel the car. The guys did a great job setting it up for qualifying and the car felt much better from the first run in Q1. That was good and I’m very happy where we are. We’re in a great place to start the race. Last year we started P9 and finished fifth, so anything is possible. It’s going to be a long race. Tire degradation is going to be a big thing here. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes tomorrow and seeing what we can do from ninth.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 15 2017
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