Bottas ends Hamilton's pole run in Bahrain

Finland's Valtteri Bottas took his first Formula One pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday to end Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton's bid for a seventh in a row.

Valtteri Bottas gestures after he clocked the fastest time. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel clocked the third fastest time.   -  AP

Finland's Valtteri Bottas took his first Formula One pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday to end Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton's bid for a seventh in a row.

Triple World Champion Hamilton qualified alongside, a mere 0.023 slower than Bottas's lap of one minute 28.769 seconds, to secure the first front row lockout of the season for the reigning champions.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, joint leader of the world championship standings with Hamilton after two races, will start in third place with Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo fourth.

"Congrats Valtteri Bottas 1st pole! Great lap. Happy for all you guys at merc that Valtteri is going well," tweeted Nico Rosberg, whose decision to quit after winning the 2016 world title opened up a Mercedes vacancy for Bottas for this season.

Mercedes, who won the race last year with now-retired champion Rosberg, have taken five successive poles at the desert Sakhir circuit.