Valtteri Bottas left it late but the Finn secured a third pole position of his Formula 1 career and will start at the front of the field for Sundays Brazilian Grand Prix.
With team-mate Lewis Hamilton having crashed out at the first hurdle, it was left to Bottas to lead the fight for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team against the two car attack from Scuderia Ferrari, and despite Sebastian Vettel’s best efforts, the Finn took top spot by 0.038 seconds from the German.
“It was so close in qualifying, as it always tends to be in Brazil,” said Bottas. “I knew going into the last run in Q3 that I had to improve if I wanted to be on pole.
“I could feel and see that I was improving corner after corner. It’s such a good feeling to get everything together in the end.
“It was very unfortunate that Lewis wasn’t there for Q2 and Q3. So it was up to me to deliver for the team, and I’m very happy that I could.”
Bottas will be looking to secure a third victory of his first year with Mercedes on Sunday as he looks to close the gap on Vettel as the duo battle to finish second behind Hamilton in the championship, and he knows a clean race will be important to remain in contention.
“I have the clear goal to still try and become second in the Drivers’ Championship,” said Bottas. “Having a good target makes everyone in the team work harder, including myself.
“It’s going to be important to have a good, clean race tomorrow, but it won’t be easy, the Ferraris are very quick as well. Turn 1 and 2 are always tricky in Interlagos, but hopefully I will get a good getaway so there won’t be any issues.
“It’s only my third pole position, so I will very much like the view from the starting line tomorrow.”