Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Sport | By Stephen Hansen

Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

Bottas beats Hamilton to take pole position at Bahrain GP

Daniel Ricciardo was left in a lonely fifth place come the end, despite battling for the podium places early in the race, while a brake failure saw Max Verstappen luck to walk away from a scary moment on lap 12, ending his race in the tyre barrier.

At the top of the timesheets, Hamilton's 1:32.822 sat as the fastest time for the majority of the morning before Daniel Ricciardo logged a 1:32.349 just before the day's midway point.

In the opening stint the first five cars - led by Valtteri Bottas - were never further apart than six seconds, with Red Bull looking perfectly poised for a surprise challenge for victory.

'At the beginning of the race I genuinely thought we had a chance to win, ' Ricciardo said on his way to a distant fifth place.

"That stint was looking very competitive and I could see Valtteri was struggling. I was on Massa's pace and we know we're quicker than that, so that was a unusual change of events from the beginning of the race". Ricciardo immediately lost out to Lewis Hamilton before ceding another position to Felipe Massa, something he put down to Red Bull not able to extract performance from the soft tyre like it could with the super-soft tyre.

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"It cost us a few quid today, several thousand pounds and a lot of down time", Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1.

"On the restart, out of the last corner, it felt like the tyre just was never switched on". "As soon as I hit the brakes, it just went long. Obviously you could look at the Mercedes and the Ferraris - they have a lot more downforce than us so the softs work for them but it highlighted our problem and it's something we can now address".

"In a way it's encouraging that the speed is there, and maybe if we really understand it we will find even more".

Slow pit stops for the Mercedes drivers under the safety auto resulted in Sebastian Vettel taking the lead using a similar strategy to Verstappen and the Red Bull driver believes he would have been in prime position to score a good result. "It was a unusual turn of events from the beginning of the race".

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