Valtteri Bottas has become the first Finn in 17 years to claim pole position in a Brazilian Grand Prix following a superb showing in qualifying in which he finished first ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, and the driver beamed as he told the media he was 'pleased to deliver' for his team.
Newly-crowned world champion and team-mate of Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, crashed out of proceedings in his first lap of the course, opening the door for Bottas to impress and take pole.
“It was so close in qualifying. It was a shame Lewis wasn't here. I'm happy that I could deliver and we could get that pole,” the 28-year-old told Sky Sports afterwards.
“We've been working hard on our issues. There were many difficult races for me but I have learned from them, changing the things that I need to change.
“I think the last three races every time has been a step up."
With Hamilton exiting so early on, Bottas, Sebatian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari were among the frontrunners for the majority of the session, with Vettel in particular regularly exchanging fastest laps with his counterpart at Mercedes.
The Finn explained that he expected nothing less than the fierce competition he faced from the Ferrari pair.
We have a clear goal of still trying to be second [in the world championship]. It's not going to be easy - Ferrari are quick as well.”
The last Finn to take pole position in a Brazil Grand Prix was Mika Hakkinen back in 2000, but Bottas will be hoping for better luck than his compatriot, who was forced to retire due to oil pressure issues.
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