Bottas: Back-to-back F1 poles ‘good basis’ for 2018

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Valtteri Bottas says scoring back-to-back pole positions in Brazil and Abu Dhabi is a “good basis” for a stronger display through the 2018 Formula 1 season, but is eager to end the season with a victory at Yas Marina on Sunday.

Bottas scored two race wins through his first half-season with Mercedes in Russia and Austria to put himself in contention for the drivers’ championship, only for his form to tail off through the second half of the year.

Bottas was unable to convert pole position into victory two weeks ago in Brazil, finishing the race second behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, but will have another chance to do so in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after topping qualifying for Mercedes.

“It’s only the fourth pole of my whole career and I had to beat some pretty good qualifiers, so it’s a great feeling to start from P1 tomorrow,” Bottas said after heading up a one-two finish for Mercedes in qualifying ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

“It was a really good qualifying, clean and smooth. With the changes we made, the car was behaving much better in qualifying than it did in free practice.

“Run after run, I could always find some time here and there, I really worked on the details.

“But the weekend is not over yet; we want to finish strong tomorrow as well. We were nearly there in Sao Paulo and now I get a second opportunity. It would mean a lot to end the season on a high.

“However, no matter how tomorrow goes, it will be nice to head into the winter break knowing that I had the speed to be on pole two races in a row.

“That’s a good feeling and a good basis to start working for 2018.”

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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