Abu Dhabi GP: Valtteri Bottas vows to make pole position count
Sunday's season-closer live on Sky F1 from 11.30am, lights out 1pm
By Pete Gill in Abu Dhabi
Last Updated: 27/11/17 1:33pm
Valtteri Bottas has vowed to make amends for failing to win from pole in Brazil two weeks ago after claiming pole position for the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
Bottas narrowly edged out team-mate Lewis Hamilton to claim pole by nearly two tenths of a second at the Yas Marina Circuit. Sebastian Vettel, who will finish second in the championship behind Hamilton so long as he finishes in the points on Sunday, was third quickest.
It was the fourth pole of Bottas' career but his second in succession after also out-pacing the field in Brazil when Hamilton crashed out. This Saturday's outcome, however, ran contrary to the general balance of power at Mercedes this weekend when Hamilton has generally held the upper hand.
"The car was much better than at any point this weekend. I worked on the details and find enough details to be on pole," said Bottas.
"I was so gutted in Brazil getting pole and missing the win. I have a clear target for tomorrow."
For Hamilton, history is repeating itself. When he won the title with three races to spare in 2015, Nico Rosberg, then his team-mate, finished the year with three successive poles. In 2017, Hamilton won the title with two races still remaining and seen Bottas take pole for both.
"He had an incredible qualifying and congratulations to him," Hamilton said. "Valtteri did an exceptional job."
Pole positions in 2017
|Driver||Number of poles|
|Lewis Hamilton||             11|
|Sebastian Vettel||             4|
|Valtteri Bottas||             4|
|Kimi Raikkonen||             1|
Hamilton was quickest in Q2 as well as Practice Three but admitted he had struggled to maintain his advantage ahead of an improving Bottas as he headed into the all-important shootout.
"It was a session l had to push a lot," Hamilton said. "In P3, I was a lot more comfortable with the car. That wasn't the case in this session and l was thinking 'I have a serious fight on my hands. I gave it everything I could but it was on a knife-edge and ultimately Valtteri did a better job than me."
Vettel was half a second behind the Mercedes in third but his Ferrari car is expected to be far closer to the Silver Arrows in race trim.
"Overall I was pretty happy with the car," said Vettel. "It was a bit of a shame to be that far back but we can be a bit closer in the race.
"The last race is important. It gives a big boost. I don't believe a good result tomorrow determines next year but a good result gives a boost for the winter."