Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to pole in Russian Grand Prix

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday with Mercedes team mate and Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton having to settle for second place on the starting grid.
Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to pole in Russian Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas (centre) poses with Lewis Hamilton (left) and Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton’s Ferrari title rival Sebastian Vettel, 40 points behind the Briton with six races remaining in the battle of four-times world champions, will start third at the Black Sea circuit on Sunday.
“It feels good,” said Bottas. “Coming to this weekend I knew that normally it’s been a pretty good track for me and again I managed to get some good laps in. The car just felt really strong.” The pole, in a track record of one minute 31.387 seconds, was only the second this season for Bottas, who is 110 points behind Hamilton.
It also came at the track where last year he celebrated his first win.
“He’s driven brilliantly this weekend and he just did a better job,” said Hamilton. “My last two laps of Q3 weren’t great — you can’t always have it — but we’re still in contention for tomorrow,” added the Briton, who will be chasing his eighth win of the campaign.  “It’s a long way down to turn one so we’ll still have a fight at least tomorrow.” Team boss Toto Wolff said Bottas “was so pumped the adrenaline was coming out of his ears” but left open a question about whether Mercedes would enforce team orders in Hamilton’s favour come race day. Vettel hoped Sunday could see the tables turned.

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