Bottas stuns Hamilton for Bahrain Grand Prix pole

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland takes a curve during the first practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir Bahrain Friday

Bottas clocked a best lap of one minute and 28.769 seconds in the final seconds and it was, as Hamilton admitted, too good for him to beat.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his vehicle during the first practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 14, 2017. With major rule changes increasing the speed of the cars and revving up the noise level, fans are already enjoying much more value for money than in previous seasons. "How it is behaving and also working with the team and fine-tuning the set-up of the auto - I'm getting better with that as well with the engineers".

"Overall I was very happy with how qualifying went, with how the vehicle felt", he said.

"When I saw the time I was a bit down as four tenths was more than I expected".

"He's performing at his best, he is rapid out there, so when I'm able to get ahead, it only compliments you, and vice versa".

"But I don't feel I'm in a rush with anything".

Bottas became the first Finnish driver to take pole since Heikki Kovalainen at the British GP in 2008 - the race after Kimi Raikkonen's pole at the French GP - and the fifth overall.

"So, being that it is a hotter race here I think the gap is going to be even closer, if not different that to perhaps it was before, but we shall see". We have to look at whatever we can do tomorrow, work together as a team and plan a good strategy for the race tomorrow.

Bottas" lap was comfortably faster than Rosberg's pole time a year ago of 1:29.493, but the overall speed of the new era "fatter-and-faster' machines was less notable in the desert heat than it had been at the two previous races.

The Belgian rookie stopped at turn 10 in the opening practice session following another Honda engine problem which resulted in a delay to the start of his running later in the day.

"I think it's great that we have how close it is between the teams because then it really brings out the best in each driver, and I just feel when you feel like you're at your best and do a good job, and you're fighting against someone else who's doing just a good a job, it's that much more exciting". "When I got the time I was a bit down to be honest. Obviously I'll try my hardest to win the race, but whichever the case, he's going to have one at some stage this year if it's not tomorrow, because he's getting stronger and stronger". "I'm sure we can be alright". When he talks up Vettel in the way he does, Hamilton is also reminding Rosberg of what he will never achieve.

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