Valtteri Bottas says he is finally feeling "more at one" with his 2017 Mercedes W08 after claiming his maiden Formula One pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Bottas pulled out a superb lap with his final effort of Q3 to snatch pole from under the nose of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.023s. In doing so, Bottas became the first Finn to record a pole position in 168 races -- since Heikki Kovalainen at the 2008 British Grand Prix.
"Definitely I've been getting more and more comfortable with the car," Bottas said. "How it is behaving and also working with the team and fine-tuning the set-up of the car -- I'm getting better with that as well with the engineers. Overall just feeling more confident in the car and today felt good, especially towards the end of qualifying in Q3.
"Got some good laps. Felt I could extract pretty much the maximum out of the car so that's always a good feeling and for sure it always takes a bit of time to get there. The more time you spend with a car driving it, you get more at one with the car. I definitely feel better and better."
Despite taking his first-ever pole, Bottas insists he will not be getting carried away with any thoughts about potentially taking his maiden F1 win on Sunday.
"Well I think the main thing is, for sure, I and we as a team need to enjoy this for a very short period of time what we've done so far in the weekend. But the main thing is tomorrow. There's no point to start dreaming about anything. We have to look at whatever we can do tomorrow, work together as a team and plan a good strategy for the race tomorrow.
"For me it's all about focusing on the race and getting the maximum out of it. Definitely a good place to start. I think as a team we can be really strong tomorrow and hopefully get that 1-2, first one of the year."
When asked about Mercedes' rules of engagement in Bahrain, Bottas joked he hoped to avoid a repeat of the first corner contact between himself and Hamilton in last year's race.
"I am really happy that we are allowed to fight and I'm sure we can do it hard," he said. "Hard but fair and try to avoid what we did last year with Lewis in Turn 1, we actually collided. I'm sure we can be alright."
In response to Bottas' comments, Vettel quipped: "I wouldn't mind!"