Valtteri Bottas won his first pole position in Bahrain in his 80th Formula 1 race and became the first Finn after nine years who started the race from the top of the grid. Do you know who was the last Finn on pole position before him? No, it wasn’t Kimi Raikkonen.
Kimi Raikkonen really didn’t start from pole for nine years, since 2008 French GP when he beat his team mate Felipe Massa in Ferrari F2008 for just 0.041 seconds with two laps less fuel than Brazilian.
Since Magnycours 2008., Raikkonen started from the second place just five more times – in Japan and China 2008., in Monaco 2009., in China 2013. and in Italy 2015.
But last Finn who started from pole before Bottas was Heikki Kovalainen who clinched his first and only pole in 2008 British GP. Interestingly, it happened only one race after Raikkonen secured his last pole in France.
Kovalainen usually had more fuel in qualifying during 2008 season, but for British GP he had less fuel than Lewis Hamilton.
Finn used that opportunity brilliantly and secured his only career pole in style with 0.505 seconds advantage in front of second placed Mark Webber in Red Bull and 0.657 s in front of third placed Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton was just fourth fastest with 0.786 seconds slower time than Kovalainen although he had only two laps more ful than his team mate. Briton pushed too hard in Q3 and messed up both of his attempts and started the race from fourth.
In the end, it wasn’t too important because he was dominant on rainy race day when he secured one of the most memoriable wins in his racing career, winning with more than a minute advantage in front of Nick Heidfeld in BMW Sauber.