Valtteri Bottas felt pleased to have been able to step up for Mercedes and grab Formula 1 pole for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday after seeing world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton crash out early on.
Hamilton and Bottas looked poised to scrap with Ferrari racers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel for pole at Interlagos after a close-fought final practice, only for Hamilton to crash out in Q1.
Bottas was left to fight the Ferrari duo alone, but took his third F1 pole with a stunning final lap in Q3 after seeing Vettel lose time following a mistake at the first corner.
The result came less than 24 hours after a number of Mercedes team members were held at gunpoint by robbers, making it a significant response.
“I feel good – still a bit shaky. It’s a good feeling,” Bottas said moments after stepping out of his car after qualifying.
“It was very exciting, so close between Sebastian and me, and also Kimi sometimes, in the qualifying, so I got a good lap in the end.
“It was a shame Lewis was out from the start but I’m happy I could step up for the team.”
“It’s really good to start on the pole here. We have a good car. It’s going to be a close race still with Ferrari, but I’d rather start from pole than, for example, from P3.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Bottas will be joined on the front row of the grid by Vettel, with the Ferrari driver sitting 15 points clear in the race for second in the F1 drivers’ championship.
Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.
Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.
He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”
Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.
In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”
Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.
Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.