Valtteri Bottas qualified sixth and Felipe Massa seventh for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Both cars made it through to Q3 setting their fastest laps on supersoft tyres.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: It’s always fraught at the beginning of this new qualifying format when you need to think about your strategy and timings, but by the time you’re in the middle of Q2 it all evens out and you know where your pace is. We ran again in Q2 on the basis that we wanted to get the drivers ready for Q3 and use the extra track time. We knew that Ferrari and Mercedes would just be a little bit too far away from us and so we wouldn’t be able to do a second run in Q3. The drivers were improving throughout and I think we’ve got ourselves into a reasonable position. We are roughly the third quickest car so we are in a good positon for the race tomorrow. The drivers are reasonably well matched as there is very little between them, just two milliseconds in Q3. That is what we want to see. The set-up and tyre work we did on Friday is very encouraging in terms of race pace. We’ve got a reasonable strategy planned, so we just need to execute it tomorrow to come out with a good haul of points.
Valtteri Bottas: It was a good qualifying session and we managed to get the maximum out of the car we had. In Felipe’s car we’ve also made progress with the new front wing today, which is good. We start the race in a strong position and the target will be to finish in the top five which I think is definitely possible. We just have to find a way to get past the Red Bull and the fact that we have better straight-line speed compared to them should help us. I’m hoping for a nice clean race and to collect some good points tomorrow for both cars.
Felipe Massa: It was definitely a good qualifying. We always expected to be a little bit more in front. It was a difficult day trying the new wing in practice and then not really having the balance, so we took our time to decide whether or not we would use it in qualifying. We decided to use it and managed to improve our time which was important. We need more time though to understand this front wing to get the most from it. I’m pretty upbeat about our position for qualifying, though. We know the race will be long tomorrow. We have one Red Bull in front and also one behind. Both Toro Rossos are behind, as are the other teams we are fighting, so we know the race will be difficult. We will try the best we can to score as many points as possible.
Track Bahrain International Circuit Weather Warm and dry
Lap Length 5.412kms / 3.363 miles Temperature Air: 21-23°C Track: 26-28°C
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.391 (2nd) 1:30.039 (1st) 1:29.493
2. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.325 (1st) 1:30.535 (3rd) 1:29.570
3. S. Vettel Ferrari 1:31.636 (3rd) 1:30.409 (3rd) 1:30.012
6. V. Bottas WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:31.672 (5th) 1:30.931 (5th) 1:31.153
7. F. Massa WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:32.045 (12th) 1:31.374 (7th) 1:31.155