Second F1 pole ‘special feeling’ for Bottas, but Ferrari threat lingers

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Valtteri Bottas was left with a “special feeling” after picking up his second Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, but the Finn remains wary of the threat posed by Ferrari in Spielberg.

Bottas edged out F1 championship leader Sebastian Vettel by 0.042 seconds in the final stage of qualifying to secure his second pole position, his first coming earlier this year in Bahrain.

Bottas will lead Mercedes’ charge against Ferrari in Austria after teammate Lewis Hamilton was hit with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, dropping him to eighth on the grid.

“What a special feeling. It’s only the second pole for me and hopefully there’s more to come,” Bottas said after the session.

“It was a good lap in Q3, if not quite perfect. Today was all about building up the confidence in the car. I got it set up nicely and it’s great to get the second pole position of my career.”

With Ferrari drivers Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen starting second and third, Bottas may be outnumbered off the start, but he is keen to keep his head down and remain focused.

“I’m going to focus on my own race, rather than looking behind me tomorrow, but we will not underestimate the Ferraris,” Bottas said.

“It’s going to be close and should be an interesting fight. Hopefully Lewis can fight back and we can score strong points for the team.

“The weather could be important tomorrow but starting first, I won’t complain if the rain stays away. The car feels great, especially on high fuel, and I’m ready to win.

“That’s the only target. It’s been too long since Russia.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.