Bottas on pole for Silverstone GP ahead of teammate Hamilton

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Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland steers his car during the qualifying session at the 70th Anniversary Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit, Silverstone, England, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein,Pool)

SILVERSTONE – Valtteri Bottas edged out Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton to claim pole position Saturday for Formula One's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Hamilton appeared on course to take his 92nd career pole but he had a poor first sector on his final run and Bottas clocked 1 minute, 25.154 seconds, 0.063 seconds ahead of the six-time world champion.

It gave Bottas his first pole since the opening race of the pandemic-delayed season in Austria, which he went on to win.

Hamilton won the next three races from pole, including last weekend in the British GP, to extend his championship lead over Bottas to 30 points in his quest for a record-equaling seventh world title.

F1 is back at Hamilton's home circuit of Silverstone this weekend for a race also closed to spectators due to the coronavirus restrictions.

“I wasn’t that great,” Hamilton said. “But Valtteri did a good job and deserved pole.”

Bottas signed a one-year Mercedes contract extension earlier this week.

“The race pace is there," Bottas said. “So the first job is to get a good start off the line (on Sunday).”