Bottas stuns taking pole position ahead of Spanish GP

(L-R) British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG, his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas and Germany's Sebastian Vettel, of Ferrari, posing for the photographers after the qualifying rounds ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona-Catalonia circuit in Montmelo, Barcelona, Spain, May 11, 2019. EPA-EFE/ALBERTO ESTEVEZ

MONTMELO.- Mercedes’ Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas on Saturday secured the pole position in the Spanish Grand Prix to be held at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona.

In his best effort at the 4,655-meter circuit, Bottas posted a lap-time of one minute and 16.406s, setting a new Montmelo record and earning his 9th Formula One pole position.

«I really enjoyed that – the adrenaline rush. It’s started well the season and I feel better and better in the car,» the Fin was quoted by the Formula One official Twitter account as saying.

His English teammate Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, will kick off the race also from the first row, having come second in the qualifying rounds 0.634s shy of his fellow Mercedes racer.

«Valtteri did a fantastic job. On my side, I didn’t put the laps together. Ultimately, I didn’t do the job – but it’s great for the team to have a 1-2, and if I can reverse it tomorrow I’ll be happy,» Hamilton said after the qualifying.

Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen of the Netherlands will start the race from the second row, finishing the qualifying third and fourth respectively.

«I think we got everything out of the car, but yeah… happy but not happy. The car doesn’t feel bad but obviously we are not quick enough,» Vettel said.

Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) will start the race from the fifth spot, ahead of Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Red Bull).

Haas’ two drivers secured the fourth row with France’s Romain Grosjean leading his teammate Kevin Magnussen of Denmark.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz (McLaren) came 13th, but he will start the race from the 12th spot due to a three-place grid penalty imposed on Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) after his bizarre reversal into Daniil Kvyat (Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda) in the Azerbaijani GP.

Sainz who did not make the cut to Q3, the third qualifying round, will start the race from the sixth row, alongside Alexander Albon (Toro Rosso) of Thailand.

Four races into the season, Bottas tops the 2019 drivers’ standings with 87 points, just one point ahead of Hamilton asserting Mercedes’ grip in the standings.

Between them both they have won the four opening races, with Bottas clinching the Australian and Azerbaijani GPs, where Hamilton came second, while roles were reversed in Bahrein and China, where the Briton led Mercedes’ one-two win.

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