Verstappen takes pole for Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen takes pole for Bahrain Grand Prix



Defending Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen claimed his first pole position of 2024 in a closely contested Qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the Red Bull driver beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 0.228 seconds with Mercedes' George Russell in third place. 


Verstappen had to work hard in the final runs of the session to beat Leclerc, with the Ferrari drivers just six hundredths of a second behind the Dutchman after the opening runs of Q3. Verstappen upped the pace on his final run to post a time of 1:29.179 but Leclerc, who had gone quicker than that in Q2, was clear by a small margin after the second sector of his final. However, the Ferrari driver lost out in the final sector and Verstappen claimed his third career Bahrain Grand Prix pole. 


At the start of the hour, in Q1, Ferrari were first on track, Carlos Sainz took up early residency in P1 with a lap of 1:31.208 just under six hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Leclerc. 


Verstappen initially held fire but after six minutes he left the Red Bull garage and jumped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:30.031 ahead of McLaren’s improving Lando Norris, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez, who slotted into fourth place with his time of 1:30.221. 


Sainz though was into his second attempt and the Spaniard was the first to dip below the 1m30s mark, stopping the clock at 1:29.900 and returning to the top of the timesheet a little over a tenth ahead of Verstappen. 


Verstappen went for a second run at the end of the session but he failed to improve and as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll jumped to P2 with his final flyer, Verstappen went through to the next session in P3. 


There was no place in Q2 for either Sauber, however, with Valtteri Bottas ruled out in P16 ahead of team-mate Zhou Guanyu. Williams’ Logan Sargeant was also bounced out in P18 ahead of the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly. 


At the start of Q2 Verstappen led the way with an impressive lap of 1:29.374 that put him almost six tenths clear of Pérez and third-placed Norris who was the only other driver below 1m30s. Ahead of the final runs, Leclerc sat in fifth ahead of Alonso, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Sainz. 


Both Red Bull drivers backed out their final Q2 runs and that left the door open for Leclerc who stole top spot with a strong final flying lap of 1:29.165. Sainz took third place behind Verstappen. 


RB’s Yuki Tusnoda who was ruled out in P11 ahead of Stroll, Albon, the second RB of Daniel Ricciardo and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. 


Verstappen was quickly out on track at the start of Q3 and the World Champion put in a good opener of 1:29.421 to take provisional pole. Leclerc was just six hundredths of a second off the Dutchman, however.


But Verstappen found more pace in the final runs to post a lap of 1:29.179. Leclerc momentarily looked to be powering past that, but despite being marginally clear after the second sector he pushed his tyres too hard and when he crossed the line he was two tenths of a second off Verstappen, and the champion had his first pole of 2024. Russell took third place for Mercedes, with Sainz fourth on 1:29.573. 


Pérez’s 1:29.932 was good enough for fifth place and the front of row three, alongside Alonso. The McLarens of Norris and Piastri are set to occupy row four and the final top 10 positions were taken by Hamilton and Hülkenberg. 


2024 FIA Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix – Qualifying 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:29.179 
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:29.407 0.228 
3 George Russell Mercedes 1:29.485 0.306
4 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:29.507 0.328 
5 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:29.537 0.358 
6 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:29.542 0.363 
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1:29.614 0.435 
8 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:29.683 0.504 
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.710 0.531 
10 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:30.502 1.323 
11 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:30.129 0.950 
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:30.200 1.021 
13 Alexander Albon Williams 1:30.221 1.042 
14 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:30.278 1.099 
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:30.529 1.350 
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:30.756 1.577 
17 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:30.757 1.578 
18 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:30.770 1.591 
19 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:30.793 1.614 1.810
20 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:30.948 1.769 

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