Mercedes is not without its surprises, and I’m sure Valtteri Bottas is feeling much better about his bad start in China last week, redeeming himself with the pole position for Bahrain tomorrow. It is Bottas’ first F1 pole position, and he beat both teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who have been the two main speculated contenders for the Drivers’ Championship this year. (And also the two combined have a shared 109 pole positions to date.)
No pressure Bottas. None at all….
Of course, Hamilton still managed P2, making for a Mercedes’-dominated front row in Bahrain tomorrow. Vettel closed in with P3, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo fills out the second row with P4.
Renault had an impressive performance as well with both drivers making it to Q3 (being the only other team aside from the usual Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull to have both drivers). Joylon Palmer’s Q3 was his career 1st, nabbing P10 as his final grid position for tomorrow. Teammate Kevin Magnussen will start in row 4 with P8.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz could not catch a break today, with his car quitting before finishing his final lap for Q1. He almost escaped the cut to run in Q2, but instead will start P16.
Poor Fernando Alonso. He barely made it into Q2 and never had the chance to even run it. A power unit failure garaged his car for the entire qualifying session, so he is now slated to start P15, barring any penalties for the power unit replacement in order to run tomorrow.
Romain Grosjean has given himself a little birthday present this weekend by making it into Q3, qualifying 9th on the grid. (He did sing Happy Birthday, poorly as he said, on the radio coming into the garage after Q2.) A good start for Haas this weekend.
And returning after being out the first two races of the season is Pascal Wehrlein. Wehrlein made it into Q2, and qualified P13–not a bad start after being out for a bit. Also great start for Sauber after a rough weekend in China last week.
Congrats to Bottas for his first F1 pole. Although no one should jump the gun yet, if Bottas doesn’t mess up his start like last weekend in China, he could possibly take home his first win for Mercedes. If so, this might heat things up and add yet another contender to the F1 Drivers’ Championship.
Or it’ll just lead to another Mercedes-Mercedes battle *yawn*, so maybe let’s hope that’s not the case.