Mercedes Sweeps Imola Front Row, Bottas On Pole

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Mercedes Sweeps Imola
Valtteri Bottas won the pole for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Saturday. (Steve Etherington photo)

IMOLA, Italy – Mercedes AMG Petronas locked out the front row during qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Saturday at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

Valtteri Bottas led the way for the Silver Arrows, notching his 15th career Formula 1 pole position and fourth of the season with a lap of 1:13.609.

He beat his teammate, six-time F-1 champion Lewis Hamilton, by .097 seconds.

“It’s never easy to get pole position but I’m really enjoying this track,” said Bottas. “When you push flat out, it’s a beautiful feeling, and I knew I had to dig deep on the final lap. For me, turns two and three were something I really had to work on today, and I only got there right at the end; the same at the final corners, where I’d struggled with some instability but I knew I really had to push at the end, so I risked it and the car just turned in nicely.

“I was able to find the small gains I needed and it’s a great feeling when you manage that – I definitely had the shakes after that one!” Bottas added. “Tomorrow, it’s going to be a good fight; it’s one of the longest runs of the calendar into turn one, so no doubt Lewis and Max will be chasing me. But it’s a good place to start and hopefully the pace is good.”

Hamilton will start second Sunday in the first race since he overtook Michael Schumacher for the all-time wins record in F-1 history with his 92nd grand prix victory.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly share the second row, followed by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Alex Albon took sixth in the second Red Bull, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat and the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz filling out the top 10.