Sebastian Vettel 'down' over gap to Mercedes in qualifying

Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton fought each other for pole position on Saturday with the Finn coming out on top, while Vettel ended up four tenths of a second adrift.

Bottas pulled out a superb lap with his final effort of Q3 to snatch pole from under the nose of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.023s.

Bottas, who is slightly more animated than countryman Kimi Raikkonen, but not a lot, smiled happily but looked nearly embarrassed by all the attention.

"I just wanted to say a big thanks to the team giving me this vehicle to drive it on pole and we're both starting in the front row".

"It's not an easy track to get everything right. It's easy to lock up or miss apex slightly but hopefully if I can concentrate it will be alright tomorrow", he stated. There's no point in dreaming.

Surely, he would want to take advantage of the pole after the last race's results that saw him finish outside the podium (sixth place, actually).

"But it was a great battle, that's how close qualifying should always be, it forces us to be on the limit, I'm generally happy with the job I did and great for the team to be 1-2". "He's been working so hard, so well with the team and today he was just quicker, he did the better job". He perhaps silenced some of those critics by delivering an incredible lap to prevent teammate Hamilton from taking a seventh consecutive pole and scoring the first in his five year F1 career. Instead the German had to settle for third position, where he hopes he can turn Ferrari's strong long-run pace into a challenge for the win on Sunday.

He lost the most time in sectors one and three, which are all about power in Bahrain and rewarded the Mercedes engine's super-fast qualifying mode.

Reminded about the fact Hamilton and then-Williams driver Bottas actually collided at the first corner in Bahrain a year ago, Wolff said: "I'd rather have them starting P1 and P2 and giving me the jitters throughout the race because in the end it's what we want to see".

"Firstly a big congratulations to Valtteri", said Hamilton, being gracious in defeat. I don't think for a long time it's been more than three or four drivers, but I'm really happy that it is more than just the two of us.

"At this stage unfortunately we're not battling for the big points yet", he said. "On the next run I tried too hard".

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

This is also the first time Mercedes has locked out the front row in the 2017 season, relegating Vettel to third on the grid.

He added: "Time will tell".

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