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Pole man Bottas not “wasting energy” focusing on Russell

Pole man Bottas not “wasting energy” focusing on Russell

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Pole man Bottas not “wasting energy” focusing on Russell

Pole man Bottas not “wasting energy” focusing on Russell

Valtteri Bottas said he is focusing on his own driving rather than getting distracted by the hype around stand-in Mercedes team-mate George Russell after qualifying on pole for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Bottas secured his fifth pole of the season, finishing just 0.026s ahead of Russell, who is in the second Mercedes as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton after the reigning champion was struck down with Covid-19.

Bottas finished second to Russell in both Friday practice sessions, but hit the top when it mattered and said: “It’s a different situation to have a new team-mate but fundamentally I wanted to focus on my own doing, not waste energy anywhere else.

“It’s good to be on pole, I’m happy for that, but not my best qualifying. Slightly disappointed on myself in the last lap at the end, the lap was not great but I am happy to be on pole.”

It was another front row lock-out for Mercedes, despite the fact Russell, who usually drives for Williams, only got the call to race in the early hours of Tuesday morning and has had very little time to get used to the car.

Bottas added: "George really did a good job, he was really building up to it and we could see the progress in qualifying.

"So I am really happy for us as a team that we can be 1-2 on the grid, another good achievement for us.”

The pole time was the fastest in F1 history because of the short nature of the Outer track at the Sakhir circuit, which hosts its second race in a week after last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The layout is still a bit of an unknown in terms of racing strategy and Bottas added: “I am pleased to be on pole and go from there. We will see. It feels a bit of a Mickey Mouse track, quite bumpy and twisty, but we will see tomorrow.”

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