Charles Leclerc has secured his first Formula 1 pole position with a flawless performance in qualifying beating Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel in a front row lockout ahead of Mercedes.
Leclerc, who had two runs in Q3 compared to Vettel’s one after the German was caught out in traffic in Q2 and was forced to use an extra set of tyres in the middle session, notched up a provisional pole time of 1m 27.985s which was identical to Vettel’s 2018 pole position time.
But Vettel was unable to match it after running wide at Turn 8 in his all-or-nothing lap, leaving Leclerc to cement top spot by going even quicker with a 1m 27.866s on his final lap.
Leclerc becomes the second-youngest F1 pole-sitter in history, only behind teammate Vettel when he achieved the feat at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, while he is also the sport’s 99th different pole position winner in its 999th race.
It left Mercedes powerless to overhaul Ferrari’s dominance in Bahrain, with Lewis Hamilton having to settle for third spot but just 0.030s off Vettel.
Australian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas lines up in fourth place with a half-second gap to Max Verstappen in fifth place for Red Bull Honda.
Kevin Magnussen led the best of the rest for Haas in sixth place, just 0.005s off Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz putting his McLaren in seventh place.
Romain Grosjean ensured Haas were the top midfield team by qualifying in eighth place ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen as Lando Norris could only manage 10th place in Q3 for McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo was the unlucky 11th-place driver to miss out on Q3, dropping out by just 0.017s off Raikkonen, while Toro Rosso Honda’s Alexander Albon outperformed Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly to take 12th place ahead of the French driver.
Sergio Perez muscled his Racing Point into 14th place while Daniil Kvyat missed the end of Q2 to drop to 15th place for Toro Rosso.
In Q1, disaster struck Nico Hulkenberg for Renault as he dropped out in 17th place, behind Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in 16th, despite the German driver showing strong pace throughout practice.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll also underwhelmed in qualifying down in 18th place, two-tenths slower than Hulkenberg directly ahead of him, with the Williams pair of George Russell and Robert Kubicacompleting the grid in Bahrain.
Foto-credit: Scuderia Ferrari F1