IN PICS: Bottas storms to first career pole in Bahrain

Sport360 staff 15/04/2017

Valtteri Bottas claimed his first career pole position on Saturday when he beat his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with a well-controlled lap in Saturday's qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old Finn, who joined the team as replacement for retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, made the most of a poor final lap by the Briton to claim the prime starting position for Sunday's race.

Hamilton, who was seeking his seventh successive pole position and third in a row this season, gave his team-mate a generous hug after the session.

"We will only be celebrating for a short time tonight. The most important thing is to be ready for tomorrow's race," said Bottas.

Rosberg was amongst the first to congratulate the pole-sitter.

Three-time champion Hamilton, who shares the championship lead with Sebastian Vettel and who had been quickest until the final runs, was unable to find the extra speed he needed on his second run in Q3 to retain pole position.

"Big congratulations to Valtteri," said Hamilton. "Today he was just quicker, hats off to him."

Four-time world champion Vettel was third fastest for Ferrari, unable to make an impact on the two Mercedes men who took the front row. It was the sixth consecutive year in Bahrain that Mercedes won pole.

"Overall I was happy with how the car felt. The gap to Mercedes was bigger than I expected but we will fight tomorrow," said Vettel.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull and Nico Hulkenberg who qualified seventh for Renault.

Felipe Massa was eighth for Williams ahead of Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas and Briton Jolyon Palmer in the second Renault.

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Vettel tops FP1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Sport360 staff 14/04/2017

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel topped the times again for Ferrari in Friday's hotly-contested second free practice ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Having lapped quickest to top the opening session in very hot conditions, the four-time champion remained the man to beat in cooler temperatures in the floodlit session at the Bahrain International Circuit where the sport's former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance at a race since new owners Liberty Media took over the sport.

Vettel clocked an early best lap in one minute and 31.310 seconds during a run on super-soft tyres, a time that left him 0.041 seconds ahead of nearest rival Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes.

The Finn, who replaced retired 2016 champion Nico Rosberg in the champion team, was second 0.025 seconds clear of third placed Daniel Ricciardo of Red bull, the front three all separated by just 0.066 seconds. Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, was fourth quickest in the second Ferrari ahead of Mercedes' three-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who shares the title race lead with Vettel after two races so far this season. The Briton was unable to clock a truly competitive lap on his super-soft runs and had to take evasive action when he came upon Nico Hulkenberg idling on the racing line in Turn One. "These drivers are so dangerous, man," said Hamilton, on his team radio, as he backed off and aborted his lap. The incident was reported to the stewards and was due for investigation post-session. Vettel also had problems mid-way through the session when his Ferrari lost power. "Complete shutdown," he told his team as he nursed his car back to the pits. The German rejoined for the long race-simulation runs in the final part of the session. Verstappen's efforts were also thwarted by problems when he ran over the 't-wing' that flew off Bottas's Mercedes and damaged the floor of his Red Bull car. The session was run in track temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius and air temperatures of 34 degrees, some 14 degrees cooler than it had been in the opening session.

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Alonso to miss Monaco GP and race in Indianapolis 500

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A change of scenery for Alonso.

The news comes as somewhat of a surprise but the Spaniard has been told he has the full backing and support of McLaren and engine partner Honda.

Alonso will hit the speedway circuit in Indiana on Sunday, May 28 – the same day the prestigious Monte Carlo F1 race takes place.

The veteran will be racing for the Honda-powered Andretti team.

After a shaky start to the 2017 season, McLaren have yet to announce who will replace Alonso behind the F1 wheel – but there is a possibility that Jenson Button could return.

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