Bottas ends Hamilton's pole run in Bahrain

Bottas ends Hamilton's pole run in Bahrain

Bottas ends Hamilton's pole run in Bahrain

"It's my first pole in my career and my fifth season now in Formula One, so it took a few races but we got it and hopefully it's the first of many", said Bottas, whose deadpan delivery and team ethic has brought a sense of stability at Mercedes after the torrid atmosphere created by the Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry.

Sebastian Vettel drove his Ferrari to victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the team's first race victory since 2015.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was fourth ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

The Sauber driver, in an F1 auto for the first time since Friday practice at last month's Australian Grand Prix, completed 23 laps during the session and was only 0.7s off his team-mate.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel threw down the championship gauntlet to Lewis Hamilton after completing a practice double for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

When asked if he had needed the ideal lap to drag Red Bull above a Ferrari, Ricciardo replied: "Not flawless, no". Meanwhile, his Ferrari was lifted off the track by a crane, with the team saying the problem was overheating in the turbo area.

Hamilton and Vettel are level at the top of the championship standings.

Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg was an impressive sixth for Renault, while his British team-mate Jolyon Palmer was 13th in the order.

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"These drivers are so risky, man", Hamilton lamented over the radio to his engineer.

Bottas trailed Hamilton in both Q1 and Q2, but was able to get within half a tenth of his three-time champion team-mate following their first runs in Q3.

That was much in evidence on Saturday, with Hamilton quick to congratulate Bottas before they joined Vettel in the news conference.

But Hamilton ran a little wide at the final corner and could not beat Verstappen despite showing good pace in the first two sectors.

"A great battle, that's how close qualifying should always be".

It's anticipated that while Sunday's race will be much cooler than Friday's early session, the desert conditions may favour the Ferrari over the Mercedes.

When drivers took to their cars at 2 p.m. for P1, the track temperature was 46 degrees (115 F). Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull - TAG Heuer 1:30.307 7.

While Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was slowest after stopping on his seventh lap with smoke coming out of the rear of the vehicle thanks to a problem the team suspected was related to high engine temperature, Vettel had no such trouble. Raikkonen, whose nickname is "Iceman", eventually hitched a lift the rest of the way on a scooter.

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