Valtteri Bottas takes 70th Anniversary pole position as Nico Hulkenberg is third

Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

The Finn pipped Hamilton by just 0.063 seconds with his final lap to take his first pole since the opening race of the season in Austria last month.

It could be an important moment for Bottas, who needs to try to reduce Hamilton’s 30-point championship lead.

Racing Point’s Nico Hulkenberg, standing in for Sergio Perez who has coronavirus, beat Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take third.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was another to put in a strong performance in fifth place, ahead of the second Racing Point of Pierre Gasly.

Bottas rises to the occasion

Bottas saw his championship hopes take a hit at the British Grand Prix last weekend, when a puncture with two laps to go dropped him out of the points when he had been cruising to second place behind Hamilton, who survived his own last-lap puncture to win.

Bottas needed to bounce back this weekend, and he has put himself in a great position to do so with pole position.

Hamilton was quicker by nearly 0.2secs on their first runs in the top 10 shoot-out, when they used the soft tyre, but when they switched to the medium for the final runs, the Briton found less time.

“It feels good. We made good steps on the set-up from last weekend, that’s why the qualifying performance was better. Amazing car to drive. It’s so quick.

“Of course mentally when you are starting from pole you can only aim to win. The pace is there. First job is to get off the line, and the mentality is try to win it. That’s it.”

Hamilton said: “Valtteri did a good job and deserved the pole. For me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap.

“I don’t think many people can manage it on a one-stop. It’s highly unlikely.”

More to follow

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