Despite the pressure from his new young team-mate, Valtteri Bottas managed to put his car on pole! However, he is not completely satisfied with his performance.
“It’s a different situation to have a new team-mate but fundamentally I wanted to focus on my own doing, not waste energy anywhere else,” said Bottas after qualifying.
“It’s good to be on pole, I’m happy for that, but not my best qualifying. Slightly disappointed on myself in the last lap at the end, the lap was not great but I am happy to be on pole.
“George really did a good job, he was really building up to it and we could see the progress in qualifying. So I am really happy for us as a team that we can be 1-2 on the grid, another good achievement for us.”
And what did Bottas think about the new Bahrain track layout?
“I am pleased to be on pole and go from there. We will see. It feels a bit of a Mickey Mouse track, quite bumpy and twisty, but we will see tomorrow.”
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George Russell, however, is very happy. After stepping into the W11 for the first time on Friday, the young Briton managed to qualify second, just 0.026s behind Valtteri Bottas.
“It is a really different way of driving, to be honest,” explained Russell after the session.
“I’m trying to unlearn what I learned at Williams, and relearn how to drive this car fast. I tried a lot of things in FP3 and it didn’t go well so, to be honest, I’d have been happy just to get through to Q3 after final practice.
“But no, I’m really pleased. We got it pretty much all together on the final lap. Obviously gutted to miss out on pole by 20 milliseconds, but if you told me last week I’ll be qualifying P2 on the grid next week, I think I wouldn’t believe you.
“Valtteri has pushed Lewis a huge amount in qualifying over the years, I think statistically there’s only been a tenth between them.
“We all know how great Lewis so, just to be right behind Valtteri, coming in last minute, two days of prep I’m pleased, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.
“I’ve got nobody in front of me tomorrow, which I’ve not experienced for a long, long time. It’s going to be really tricky.
“Qualifying is what I feel most comfortable with as it’s just balls out everything you’ve got. Tomorrow, you need a bit more control, a bit more finesse, and I’m just haven’t had experience yet.
“I will give it my all and see what I can do,” concluded Russell