Valtteri Bottas beats Lewis Hamilton in final qualifying session of 2017

The Finn will start the last race of the season from the very front of the grid

2y ago


Valtteri Bottas proved he has what it takes to take the fight to Lewis Hamilton after he took pole position for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Finn, who joined Mercedes this year as a replacement for retiring world champion Nico Rosberg, has been a step behind Hamilton for the most of the season as the Brit won his fourth world title.

But since Hamilton claimed the title back in Mexico, Bottas has been right on it, taking pole in Brazil and doing so again at the Yas Marina Circuit under the lights on Saturday.

His time of 1.36.231 was an early benchmarker in Q3 - and was ultimately a time no other driver could match.

Hamilton was a tenth up on his final run but lost time with a scruffy last few corners and ended up second, less than two-hundredths of a second behind his Mercedes team-mate.

Bottas himself tried to go faster again with his final run, but after making a mistake he knew he was slower so abandoned the lap.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was third while a great lap in the dying moments of the session took Daniel Ricciardo up to a superb fourth in the Red Bull.

FULL qualifying classification

After the session Bottas vowed to make up for his disappointing result in Brazil.

"I'm really happy. I was so gutted in Brazil in the last race to be on pole and missing out on the win. I have a clear target for tomorrow."

With the title wrapped up, Hamilton seemed genuinely happy for his Merc team-mate to be on top.

"He had an incredible qualifying session and congratulations to him. We have a great crowd here today and I gave everything. I think I lost a little bit of pace going into qualifying but Valtteri did great. I’m really pleased for him," he said.

Third-place man Vettel was talking up his chances in the race to his old Red Bull sparring partner Mark Webber, who conducted the post-quali interview.

"Valtteri had a mega lap, so congratulations to him. It should be a fun race, overtaking is not straightforward but not impossible here, so let's see," he said.

We will be live in the F1-live chat channel on Sunday from midday GMT to follow all the action in the race, so join us then.


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