Bottas Flies To U.S. Grand Prix Pole

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Valtteri Bottas earned his fifth pole of the season Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. (Mercedes Photo)
Valtteri Bottas earned his fifth pole of the season Saturday at Circuit of the Americas. (Mercedes Photo)

AUSTIN, Texas – Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes on the pole for the United States Grand Prix Saturday during qualifying at Circuit of the Americas.

Bottas’ first lap during Q3 turned out to be his best, with the Mercedes driver turning in a 1:32.029 lap to secure his fifth pole of the season.

“This is very satisfying – it’s been a while since we’ve last been on pole, so this is a great feeling,” said Bottas. “I was struggling with the car yesterday, but we’ve made a number of changes overnight and today the car felt much better. I knew going into qualifying that the car had the potential to fight at the front, I just had to get a good lap together. I’m very pleased with my first lap in Q3; it wasn’t quite perfect, but good enough to put us on pole. It’s always an advantage to start from the front; now it’s up to me to try and maintain the lead at the start tomorrow. Our long runs looked good yesterday, so hopefully we can get a strong result in the race.”

Just like Bottas, the first lap turned out to be the best lap for everyone during Q3. Sebastian Vettel’s first lap was enough to earn him the second starting position, only .012 seconds shy of the lap put down by Bottas.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified third, meaning three different teams took the top-three starting positions in Sunday’s race.

Charles Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton was shockingly fifth following the final round of qualifying after he paced Friday’s round of practice sessions.

Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly completed the top-10 in qualifying.