Even as newly-crowned seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix with an outstanding record-breaking lap on Saturday, Max Verstappen hinted he might be a thorn in the aspect of Mercedes in Bahrain in ultimate apply. But when it mattered the Silver Arrows got here to the fore, with Hamilton dominating each section of qualifying to take a surprising pole position.
The Mercedes driver was pegged to only 0.146 sec by Verstappen after the primary runs in Q3, suggesting there might be a good battle. But Hamilton improved by one other quarter of a second on his ultimate run, pushing pole out of attain of his rivals to take his 98th career P1 begin.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas popped up into second, the Finn at a loss to elucidate why he merely wasn’t a risk to Hamilton all through the session. But he did at the least guarantee Mercedes lock out the entrance row for the fifth consecutive season in Bahrain and seventy fifth time in the crew’s historical past.
Verstappen was pressured to accept third, although he can take consolation from beginning on the cleaner aspect of the grid, the Dutchman suggesting the crew’s larger focus in setting the automotive up was on the race, with tyre degradation anticipated to be essential on Sunday night.
He was backed up by Red Bull crew mate Alex Albon, who equalled his best-ever begin, in fourth, albeit six tenths of a second off the tempo of his crew mate, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez popping up into fifth, having reached Q3 for the primary time since 2014.
Daniel Ricciardo was slowest of all after the primary runs, however he protected his tyres on a gradual out lap earlier than pumping in the sixth quickest time, qualifying in the highest six for the fifth time in the final six Grands Prix, and out-qualifying his crew mate Esteban Ocon — who ended up seventh — for the thirteenth straight race, albeit this time by solely 0.002s.