Lewis Hamilton secured his 98th pole position in Formula One after dominating Qualifying for 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, as Mercedes secured a front-row lockout.
Hamilton survived a late issue at the end of FP3 to dominate qualifying despite the constant threat of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who had topped FP3 earlier in the day, and ultimately took pole from Mercedes teammate – Valtteri Bottas by 0.289 seconds.
Further back, the battle for third continued to provide tension for many midfield teams whilst there was a surprise Q2 exit, as we bring a full roundup of Saturday’s F1 action.
A quiet start to the session saw Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean head out for only one installation lap before Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen set the early pace with a 1m 31.247 until several drivers headed out en mass for their first runs.
Out of the midfield runners, it proved to be Sergio Perez who set the initial pace with a 1m 30.159 from Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon until Max Verstappen put his Red Bull on top with a 1m 29.617, which was 0.369 seconds quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s first proper effort whilst Valtteri Bottas was ninth as part of a longer fuel run.
Verstappen then lowered his benchmark to 1m 29.600 ahead of soft qualifying simulation runs in which Bottas was the first leading driver to improve to a 1m 28.721, only for Hamilton to go quicker by 0.103s until Verstappen produced a session topping time of 1m 28.355 with nine minutes left on the clock despite struggling with a flappy rear wing whenever he opened DRS.
Albon, Sainz, Gasly, Lando Norris, Daniil Kvyat, Lance Stroll and Perez rounded out the top ten whilst Sebastian Vettel was the fastest Ferrari powered car in 13th as Charles Leclerc found himself 15th fastest behind Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi who sandwiched the Scuderia duo.
A quiet start to qualifying saw George Russell abandon his first run after a mistake, leaving Verstappen to set the initial pace on a 1m 28.885 before everyone joined the track with Hamilton posting a 1m 28.343 which wouldn’t be beaten throughout Q1.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll attempted his first timed run on medium tyres which left him 14th fastest and just above the drop zone containing Russell, Kimi Raikkonen, Grosjean, Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi.
Times however began to dramatically tumble in the closing moments and only Russell escaped the drop with Antonio Giovinazzi finding himself knocked out in the Brit’s place, with Magnussen getting ahead of Grosjean to qualify 18th on the grid as Raikkonen and Latifi stayed 17th and 20th respectively.
Following a nervy end to Q1, drivers opted to wait a few minutes at the start of Q2 but no sooner had they begun their flying laps with exception of Russell, the red flag was shown after Carlos Sainz spun and stalled at Turn One with a suspected brake-by-wire issue locking his McLaren rear under braking.
Seven minutes later the session resumed with half of the field choosing to stay in until the closing stages after wasting their first set of mediums for the session as all but the AlphaTauri duo opted for mediums of which they must start tomorrow’s race on.
Turkey’s pole-sitter, Lance Stroll ultimately was the only major casualty of Q2 as he qualified 13th and behind the Ferrari cars of Vettel and Leclerc, following a miscommunication with his team.
Unlike Q1 and Q2, everyone quickly ventured out for their opening runs which saw Lando Norris post the first benchmark of a 1m 29.029 which was bettered by Perez who went quicker by 0.559s until Hamilton posted a 1m 27.677 to put himself on provisional pole from Verstappen and Bottas.
Hamilton then improved on his final flier to set a new track record of 1m 27.264 which was 0.289s quicker than Bottas who outqualified Verstappen to secure a Mercedes front row lockout.
Albon was seventh quickest at the end of his first Q3 effort but found time to put himself fourth ahead of Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, Gasly, Norris and Daniil Kvyat.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 28.355|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.263|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.366|
|4||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.663|
|5||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 1.100|
|6||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.117|
|7||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.212|
|8||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+ 1.230|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1.305|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 1.317|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 1.329|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.336|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.504|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.615|
|15||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.828|
|16||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.204|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 2.297|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 2.404|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.468|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 2.562|
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 27.264|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.289|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.414|
|4||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 1.010|
|5||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 1.058|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 1.153|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.155|
|8||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.184|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.278|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||+ 1.354|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1m 29.149|
|12||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.016|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.408|
|14||George Russell||Williams||+ 2.069|
|15||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||No Time Set|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1m 29.491|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.319|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 0.620|
|19||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 0.647|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.691|