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Bottas revels in first F1 pole, but not yet dreaming of victory in Bahrain

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Valtteri Bottas may have scorched to his first pole position in Formula 1 on Saturday in Bahrain, but the Mercedes driver is refusing to dream of a breakthrough victory in the race (Sunday, 10:30am ET, CNBC).

Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams over the winter and wasted little time in making an impression, scoring a podium on debut for the German marque in Australia.

After a disappointing display in China, Bottas bounced back in style on Saturday night at the Bahrain International Circuit, edging out Hamilton by 0.023 seconds to take his first pole position in F1.

“Yeah I’m obviously really happy. First pole in my career, my fifth season now in Formula 1 so it took a few races, but got it, and hopefully it’s the first of many,” Bottas said.

“I just want to say a big thanks to the team giving me this car to drive it on pole. We’re both starting on the front row, so I think we’ve made a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and really managed to get that lot of lap time in the slightly cooler conditions.

“Hopefully that going to help us tomorrow as well with the team.”

Bottas has not won a race since a British Formula 3 event at Donington Park back in 2011, and is refusing to get ahead of himself in Bahrain as he chases his breakthrough win.

“I and we as a team need to enjoy this for a very short period of time what we’ve done so far in the weekend. But the main thing is tomorrow,” Bottas stressed.

“There’s no point to start dreaming about anything. We have to look at whatever we can do tomorrow, work together as a team and plan a good strategy for the race tomorrow.

“For me it’s all about focusing on the race and getting the maximum out of it. Definitely a good place to start. I think as a team we can be really strong tomorrow and hopefully get that 1-2, first one of the year.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 10:30am ET on Sunday.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”