Just 0.056s separated the top three cars in qualifying for Formula 1’s inaugural Sakhir Grand Prix, as Valtteri Bottas took full advantage of Lewis Hamilton’s absence to take pole position.
But the Finn admitted his 16th pole in F1 – equalling Mercedes great Stirling Moss – was “not my best” as he narrowly edged stand-in team-mate George Russell on the Brit’s first outing in the W11.
Making the first Q3 appearance of his F1 career on the short Bahrain ‘outer loop’, Russell narrowly missed out on extending his 100% unbeaten intra-team qualifying record by 0.026s, but while “gutted” to come so close to pole said he had expected to drop out in Q1 such had been his struggles in FP3.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen once again had to settle for best of the rest in third, and will share row two with Charles Leclerc after a stellar lap from the Ferrari man.
Both their team-mates struggled once again, with Alex Albon (12th) and Sebastian Vettel (13th) missing the cut for Q3, while F1 debutantes Jack Aitken and Pietro Fittipaldi each impressed for the Williams and Haas teams – although neither were able to outqualify their respective team-mates.
In the latest episode of the Autosport podcast, Grand Prix editor Alex Kalinauckas is joined by F1 reporter Luke Smith to discuss all the events of qualifying and look ahead to this evening’s race.
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