Bottas grabs pole position for Portuguese GP ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen

Valtteri Bottas grabbed a 17th pole position of his Formula One career for the Portuguese GP, making Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton wait for his magical 100th.

In doing so, Bottas achieved an important milestone in his own right, tying the great Sir Jackie Stewart for starting in prime position on race day.

“It is a good feeling to be on pole, feels like it’s been a while, so it was nice to have a good qualifying,” said the Finn afterward. “It’s been a weak point for me in the first two races getting the tyres to work but again this weekend we’ve been working hard and nice to see it’s paying off.

“The whole weekend it’s been ‘so so’ with the soft tyres and better with the mediums and like last year we put the medium tyre on in qualifying and it worked and we tried it again but the wind picked up in the last sector and I couldn’t  quite get the temperature so I’m glad that we still had a good result and tomorrow we are starting with the medium tyre, which I think is good and we can go pretty much as long as we want in the first stint.”

For Hamilton, it may have been something of a disappointment not to reach that magical landmark of 100 career F1 pole positions. But the seven-time world champion knows that milestone is not far away and he starts ahead of his major rival Verstappen when the important business begins in Sunday.

“A great job by Valtteri and a great job by the team,” reflected Hamilton. “To be on the front row is definitely not expected this weekend, so got to be happy with that and Max obviously pulled something out towards the end. Not the perfect lap but gave it everything.”

Behind the top three, the second Red Bull Racing car of Sergio Perez made it a symmetrical front two rows, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris next in the pecking order as Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel Rounded out the top ten.

And it was another superb performance from George Russell and the ever improving Williams Racing team, the Englishman planting his car 11th on the grid.

“It was a great performance from us. I did not expect Q2 after this morning, yet alone P11 on the grid,” said Russell. “We made it happen when it counted which seems to be the theme at the moment.

“It’s our best qualifying position in three years so I’m really proud. We all have our responsibilities, and as a team we did a really good job. Tomorrow we’ve got to keep moving forward. We have a good race car – it’s fast on the straights, so let’s see what we can do.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.