Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

Posted April 18, 2017

Formula 1 teams have stayed on at the Bahrain International Circuit for the first in-season test, which takes place this Tuesday and Wednesday. It was the Finnish driver's first-ever pole. Bahrain also features two long straights and, with weather unlikely to be a factor as it was in China, Hasegawa is braced for another challenging race.

As one of Bahrain Grand Prix's favourite annual traditions, the circuit hosted a welcome dinner this evening under the stars in the Formula 1 Paddock.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his auto through a curve during the third practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, A.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland steers his auto during the qualifying session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, April 15, 2017.

"Boom. That's my first one, guys", Bottas proudly told his team over race radio. In an exciting start to the season, both have one win and one second-place finish each, with Vettel winning in Melbourne and Hamilton taking the checkered flag in Shanghai.

He is level at the top of the championship standings with Vettel.

"It's great how close it is between the teams, it brings out the best in each driver", Hamilton said.

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With only a day to go before the start of action tomorrow, Formula 1's star drivers continued to arrive in the Kingdom of Bahrain to get ready for some intense battles.

"As Bahrain's global ambassador Gulf Air is committed to supporting -as Title Sponsor- this world class event".

The team struggled past year after switching back to Honda engines and it looks like things are getting worse. The heroics of Fernando Alonso has meant McLaren has retired from points-paying positions in Australia and China after making Q2 on both occasions despite the obvious limitations of the engine. Here in Bahrain, the race starts with the sun still shining, but ends under the floodlights.

"It's a shame", the Spanish driver said.

The Toro Rosso tandem of Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr have expressed their excitement for the big night race ahead at BIC.

Last weekend, Verstappen started from 16th on the grid and finished third.