Imola Grand Prix – Valtteri Bottas took pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton as Formula 1 returned to Imola for the first time since 2006.
After trailing Hamilton by a few tenths in the only practice session of the weekend this morning, Bottas turned the tables when it came to qualifying. The Finn posted the fastest times in each of the qualifying sessions, eking out slightly more of a gap to the Brit in each one.
Speaking after securing his 15th career pole, Bottas said “You always have to [fight for pole]. It’s never easy, pole positions. Really enjoyed this track, when you push flat out it’s beautiful. I knew I had to improve in the last lap and I found those small gains that were needed and it’s a great feeling when you get those. Definitely had the shakes after so, it’s good fun.”
Hamilton had set the initial pace in Q3, but the Finn knew it was all or nothing on his final run and so he risked more in areas that he had been struggling with all day, and with that risk came the reward as it paid off for him.
“For me the turn two-three, that’s something I was really working on today and only got there at the end. And the last couple of corners as well, I struggled when I tried to risk and go for it. I struggled with instability with the car but I knew in the last lap I had to try, so I risked it and the car just managed to turn in nicely and it was good.”
Thinking of tomorrow’s race start, Bottas knows it will be tough to hold position as there is a long run to the first corner but is looking forward to the fight and hopes his pace will be there in the race, unlike last time out.
“It’s going to be a fight, it’s one of the longest runs in the calendar into turn 1 so no doubt Lewis and Max will be chasing me but it’s a good place to start and hopefully the pace is good and game on.”