Bottas edges out Mercedes team-mate Hamilton in Bahrain for maiden pole

Vettel outshines Hamilton in Bahrain practice

Overall just feeling more confident in the vehicle and today felt good, especially towards the end of qualifying in Q3.

Bottas" lap was comfortably faster than Rosberg's pole time a year ago of 1:29.493, but the overall speed of the new era "fatter-and-faster' machines was less notable in the desert heat than it had been at the two previous races.

The Finn, having replaced Nico Rosberg, is on just a one-year contract, and in both Australia and China he was narrowly but clearly behind incumbent Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda spent much of the session chatting to the sport's former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was appearing at a race for the first time since he was shuffled aside by chairman Chase Carey and Formula One's new owners Liberty Media.

Vettel's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen suffered an engine failure after 37 minutes, meaning Vettel's fastest time of 1:32.697 had no real reference other than Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who was 0.4s off in second. At the same time I do feel that we have learned more than last week. "When I got the time, I was a bit down to be honest".

"They looked already a bit stronger this afternoon, so I haven't seen much yet".

And for added spice, both Hamilton and Vettel have also won twice at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Not as warm, but still mild this afternoon with sunshine
TUESDAY: Partly to mostly cloudy skies and a few rain showers will be possible, with a high temperature of 73 degrees. Rain chances will taper off tonight and clouds will near out overnight with lows falling into the mid 50s.

"We've made a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and get a lot of lap time out of this vehicle in slightly cooler conditions".

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno). Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland steers his vehicle during the first practice session for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, at the Formula One Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, April 14, 2017. The.

The Belgian rookie stopped at turn 10 in the opening practice session following another Honda engine problem which resulted in a delay to the start of his running later in the day.

Brazilian Felipe Massa starts eighth for Williams and France's Romain Grosjean ninth for Haas. The air temperature was down to 29 degrees Celsius and the track 31, down by six and eight degrees respectively compared to the earlier free practice session. He did the better job, so hats off to him.

Sebastian Vettel drove his Ferrari to victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the team's first race victory since 2015.

As the shootout began, the Red Bulls led the two Mercedes out for their final flurry, Ricciardo starting with a 1:30.007.

Hamilton grabbed Bottas from behind before congratulating him in parc ferme. The second and third ended up being quite good.

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