Bottas pips Hamilton to Portugal pole

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (far right) taking his Mercedes (above) to a 17th career pole position yesterday at the Portuguese GP, 0.007sec ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas taking his Mercedes (above) to a 17th career pole position yesterday at the Portuguese GP, 0.007sec ahead of Lewis Hamilton.PHOTO: REUTERS
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (far right) taking his Mercedes (above) to a 17th career pole position yesterday at the Portuguese GP, 0.007sec ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (above) taking his Mercedes to a 17th career pole position yesterday at the Portuguese GP, 0.007sec ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

PORTIMAO • Valtteri Bottas took pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix yesterday and denied Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton a record-extending 100th.

The Finn qualified 0.007 of a second faster than seven-time world champion Hamilton for a Mercedes front-row sweep at the Algarve circuit.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen, a point behind championship leader Hamilton (44) after two races, qualified third with his teammate Sergio Perez alongside him on the second row in Portimao.

"It's a good feeling to be on pole, it feels like it's been a while... qualifying has been a weak point for me but we've been working hard this weekend," said Bottas, who claimed his 17th pole of his career.

"It puts me in a good position for tomorrow. We need to focus on the race start and then go from there."

Hamilton, who won the opening Bahrain Grand Prix but finished second to Verstappen at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix the last time out, had only praise for his teammate. "Great job by Valtteri and a great job by our team," the Briton said.

"For us to be on the front row is definitely not expected, so we've got to be happy with that. I don't think we can ever be satisfied but I'm definitely happy with the work we're doing and the steps we are taking."

Verstappen, meanwhile, struggled with his car yesterday. He was also not helped by encountering Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin at the final corner as he started his final lap.

The Dutchman said: "Qualifying was very difficult to drive, struggling a lot with the grip. I was quite confident we could still do a good final lap but the last sector, the car in front just disturbs you. And with the low grip and the wind it cost me a lot of lap time, but it is what it is."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


F1 PORTUGUESE GP

Race day: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 9pm


PORTUGUESE GP GRID

1ST ROW

1 Valtteri Bottas (Gbr) Mercedes

2 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2ND ROW

3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull

4 Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull

3RD ROW

5 Carlos Sainz (Esp) Ferrari

6 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine

4TH ROW

7 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren

8 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari

5TH ROW

9 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Alpha Tauri

10 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin

6TH ROW

11 George Russell (Gbr) Williams

12 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo

7TH ROW

13 Fernando Alonso (Esp) Alpine

14 Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) Alpha Tauri

8TH ROW

15 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo

16 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren

9TH ROW

17 Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin

18 Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams

10TH ROW

19 Mick Schumacher (Ger) Haas

20 Nikita Mazepin (Rus) Haas

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 02, 2021, with the headline 'Bottas pips Hamilton to Portugal pole'. Subscribe