Porsche

Tandy, Jani capture Bahrain WEC pole for Porsche’s final race

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Porsche will start its final race in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship from pole position after Nick Tandy and Neel Jani saw off the challenge of Toyota in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Friday night.

Porsche confirmed back in July it would be closing its LMP1 program at the end of the 2017 season in order to turn its attention to Formula E, making this weekend’s race in Bahrain its last in the category.

The No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid shared by Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez looked poised for pole after all four LMP1 cars had completed two flying laps, enjoying a buffer to the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid in second place.

Tandy had time to go out for a late run in the session after Porsche completed its initial efforts early, and by gaining six-tenths of a second lifted the No. 1 car’s average to take pole position.

The sister No. 2 Porsche will start the race from third on the grid ahead of the No. 8 Toyota in P4, which finished over a second off the pace.

American racer Gustavo Menezes captured pole position in LMP2 for Signatech Alpine alongside Andre Negrao in the No. 36 Alpine A470 Gibson, with the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson following in second ahead of the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion entry.

AF Corse dominated qualifying in GTE-Pro through Sam Bird and Davide Rigon in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE, with both drivers posting lap times faster than any of their rivals.

Aston Martin took second in class with Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, with Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx finishing third in the No. 67 Ford GT ahead of the points-leading No. 51 AF Corse shared by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

GTE-Am pole went to Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, with the bonus point meaning a top-three finish in Sunday’s race will be enough to deliver the team a maiden set of class titles.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.