Max Verstappen snatches pole for season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix
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Max Verstappen snatched pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix in Saturday’s qualifying session.
The Red Bull driver earned his fourth career pole with a last-gasp flying lap that put defending world champion Lewis Hamilton into second on the grid.
Max Verstappen makes history
It is the first time Mercedes have been denied pole position in the opening race of a Formula 1 season in the turbo-hybrid era.
Verstappen was delighted to pip Hamilton to pole position although he will have to contend with having a Mercedes alongside him and behind him, while his teammate, Sergio Perez, failing to make it into Q3.
“We had a great testing week but there are no guarantees it translates to race weekends. The car has been working really well and of course I’m happy with pole,” Verstappen said.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We need to get a clean start and take it from there.”
Hamilton was diplomatic and praised Verstappen’s speed around the Bahrain International Circuit.
“Congratulations to Max, so fast on that last lap!” Hamilton said.
“I absolutely gave it everything I had, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. There’s always more, but it was the best I could do, I got everything I could from the car.”
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas admitted that Mercedes were not were they wanted to be.
Charles LeClerc found the pace to put hius Ferrari fourth ahead of Pierre Gasly in the Alpha Tauri, who sent a message to Red Bull by comfortably outperforming Serio Perez in the team’s second car.
FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2021 – QUALIFYING
|1||33||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:30.499||1:30.318||1:28.997||15|
|5||10||Pierre Gasly||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:30.848||1:30.513||1:29.809||15|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:30.795||1:30.222||1:29.927||18|
|7||4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||1:30.902||1:30.099||1:29.974||18|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||ALPINE RENAULT||1:30.863||1:30.595||1:30.249||15|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:31.261||1:30.624||1:30.601||15|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA||1:31.165||1:30.659||11|
|12||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:30.998||1:30.708||12|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA||1:30.607||1:31.203||9|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||1:31.547||1:31.238||12|
|15||63||George Russell||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:31.316||1:33.430||11|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||1:31.724||6|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:31.936||8|
|18||5||Sebastian Vettel||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||1:32.056||6|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||HAAS FERRARI||1:32.449||6|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||HAAS FERRARI||1:33.273||7|