Sakhir GP: Qualifying team notes - Mercedes

05/12/2020
NEWS STORY

Valtteri claimed the 16th pole position of his career - his fifth of the 2020 season and second in Bahrain. George turned his first ever Q3 appearance into P2 on the grid, securing the 12th front row lockout of the season for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. Both drivers will start the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix on the Medium tyre.

Valtteri Bottas: It's great to be on pole, I'm happy with that, but this wasn't my best qualifying. My second run in Q3 was decent, but I think there was still a bit of time missing in Turn 7 and 8. I was the first car out on track on the final run, so I didn't have a tow and ultimately couldn't improve. It was fairly close in the end, so I'm pleased it was enough for pole position. It's great to see George in P2 and that we managed to lock out the front row for the team. I'm not really surprised to see him up there, he kept improving throughout the weekend and particularly through qualifying. We're starting on the Medium tyre tomorrow, which should put us in a good position in terms of strategy. Max is going to have an advantage for the race start itself with the softer tyre, but we think for the race overall we're on the better tyre. The track is quite bumpy and it's actually fairly easy to follow other cars thanks to the tow, but we're in the best possible position for tomorrow and are looking forward to a fun race.

George Russell: Valtteri has pushed Lewis a huge amount in qualifying over the years, so I'm really pleased to have finished Q3 just behind him and to be on the front row for tomorrow. It's been incredibly intense with so much to learn and such a different way of driving in this car. I tried a lot of things in FP3, which didn't go well at all. After final practice, I'd have been happy to just get through to Q3, so I was a bit nervous heading into qualifying. But I managed to get in the groove and was getting better and better every lap. Obviously, I'm a bit gutted to miss out on pole by 20 milliseconds, but if you'd told me last week that I'd be qualifying P2 on the grid, I wouldn't have believed you. I've got nobody in front of me tomorrow, which I've not experienced for a long time. It's going to be a really tricky race on such a short track layout, but we're in a good position starting on the Mediums. I'll give it my all and see what I can do.

Toto Wolff: Scoring a front row lockout in such a close qualifying session is a fantastic result for the team. This circuit is so short and with lap times below one minute, it was always going to produce very tight gaps and we saw that with less than a tenth between P1 and P3. I'm really happy with the result, Valtteri put in a good lap in Q3, which was enough for him to take pole position. George has settled in really well, particularly when you consider the circumstances, so I'm really pleased with his performance and it's great to see him up there on the front row. This obviously puts us in a good position for tomorrow and we're starting on the Medium tyre, which we feel is the best compound for the race. It's going to be challenging and a bit of a step into the unknown on this track and with so many laps. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens and it's sure to be very exciting.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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Published: 05/12/2020
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