Vettel beats his Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen to Bahrain Grand Prix pole

Sebastian Vettel scored his first pole position this season at the Bahrain International Circuit after beating his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by 0.143 seconds.

Raikkonen had the advantage after the first runs in Q3 by 0.095 seconds from Vettel, but was unable to improve on his second run.

Vettel, who had a precautionary change of the control electronics of his power unit ahead of qualifying, set a lap of one minute, 27.958 seconds using the supersofts that were the tyre of choice to secure his 51st pole position in Formula 1.

Valtteri Bottas was third, just 23 thousandths of a second behind Raikkonen after making a two-tenths improvement on his final lap.

That put him just ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who has a five-place grid penalty so is set to line up ninth place.

Hamilton was the only driver to set his Q2 time using soft-compound Pirellis, so he will start the race on that tyre.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest, almost two-tenths slower than Hamilton and nearly a second clear of the chasing pack.

Pierre Gasly put in a superb performance to secure his best qualifying result in Formula 1 with sixth place, and is set to move up to fifth on the grid thanks to Hamilton’s penalty.

Kevin Magnussen was just 29 thousandths of a second slower in seventh, with the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr sandwiching the Force India of Esteban Ocon in ninth.

Brendon Hartley missed out on making it a double Toro Rossos in Q3 by less than a tenth of a second, after a small mistake in the final corner on his only effort in Q2 using fresh supersofts left him P11.

That put him just ahead of Sergio Perez’s Force India, with the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne never looking to have top ten pace and ending up P13 and P14 after struggling for grip.

Max Verstappen lost the rear of his Red Bull and spun exiting the slow Turn 2 left-hander while on the fourth lap of his Q1 run.

He hit the barrier with his front wing and front left wheel, which led to the session being red flagged with five-and-half minutes remaining.

Verstappen ended Q1 fourth fastest, so technically made it to Q2, but was unable to run again after the crash and was classified P15 for Red Bull.

Romain Grosjean was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 despite setting an identical lap time to Alonso in the first segment of qualifying.

The Haas driver’s late one minute, 30.530 seconds lap during the five-and-a-half minutes of running after the red flag caused by Verstappen left him down in P16 and ranked behind Alonso, thanks to the McLaren driver setting his time first.

Grosjean subsequently complained over the radio about his outlap being “a mess”.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson failed to improve on his third and final Q1 run and ended up P17 ahead of Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin, who had to rely on his first-run time.

Charles Leclerc declared himself to be “so stupid” over the radio after spinning at the final corner on his last lap and ending up P19.

His best lap, set on the second of three sets of tyres as the Sauber drivers and Hartley managed to squeeze in two runs before the red flag, was just 0.006 seconds slower than Sirotkin.

Lance Stroll was slowest, the Williams driver just under a tenth slower than Leclerc.

So a fantastic qualifying result for Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen locking out the front row. By sealing pole position, Sebastian has the a superb opportunity to score big points over rival Lewis Hamilton following a gearbox penalty. It’s going to be challenging for Mercedes to recover. Bring on the Bahrain Grand Prix!

Bahrain Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m27.958s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m28.101s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m28.124s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m28.398s
5 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m29.329s
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m29.358s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m29.570s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m29.874s
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.220s*
10 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m29.986s
11 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m30.105s
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m30.156s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m30.212s
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m30.525s
15 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault –
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m30.530s
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.063s
18 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m31.414s
19 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.420s
20 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m31.503s

*Five-place grid penalty for changing gearbox

5 thoughts to “Vettel beats his Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen to Bahrain Grand Prix pole”

  1. Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Max Verstappen hit a barrier, Brendon Hartley struck a bird and Sebastian Vettel set a scintillating pace to secure pole as Ferrari dominated qualifying under the floodlights in Bahrain on Saturday.

    Vettel pipped team mate Kimi Raikkonen, the duo separated by just 0.143s, in what is the first non-Mercedes pole in Bahrain in six years, with Valtteri Bottas the leading Mercedes in third.

    Lewis Hamilton was fourth quickest, but will start tomorrow’s race ninth after a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. He could still figure, though, as he’ll be the only driver in the top 10 to start on the soft, rather the supersoft tyre.

    Raikkonen and Vettel confirmed the pace Ferrari have demonstrated over one lap so far this weekend by topping the timing charts in Q1, with the duo able to get through using the soft tyre – the middle compound available in Bahrain – and requiring just one flying lap.

    Bottas, who was the only other driver to run the soft with everyone else on the supersoft, was third quickest, outpacing his team mate Hamilton by just over a tenth of a second.

    Verstappen slotted in ahead of Hamilton in fourth, but left himself with it all to do on Sunday when he crashed on his next run, losing control coming out of Turn 2 and ending up in the barrier nose first.

    It meant the Red Bull driver failed to reach Q3 for the first time since the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix.

    Race director Charlie Whiting red-flagged the session while the stricken Red Bull was recovered, with Verstappen climbing out of the car and reporting he was unscathed.

    On resumption, everyone below sixth-placed Daniel Ricciardo in the other Red Bull headed out for another run, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso scraping through into Q2 with the 15th quickest time.

    Romain Grosjean, who admitted the out lap was a mess and ran slightly wide at the final corner on his last run for Haas, set an identical time to Alonso, forcing him out of qualifying.

    The Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc, who spun on his final lap and said on team radio that “I am so stupid”, plus the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were also eliminated in the opening phase.

    With Hamilton hampered by that five-place grid penalty, he and Mercedes opted to run the softs in Q2, giving him an alternative strategy as he will start the race on that tyre.

    Hamilton eased into the final part of qualifying, looking more comfortable on the slower soft tyre to go second. Everyone else was on the supersofts, with Vettel pumping in a brilliant lap to go quickest.

    Raikkonen ended up third fastest, with Ricciardo fourth and Bottas fifth with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg best of the rest in sixth, 0.846s off the pace.

    But perhaps the star of the session was Pierre Gasly, who put the Honda-powered Toro Rosso into Q3 for the first time this year in ninth. Team mate Brendon Hartley, who damaged his front wing when he hit a bird early in the session, just missed out in 11th.

    Force India’s Sergio Perez was also eliminated, along with Alonso, McLaren team mate Stoffel Vandoorne and Verstappen, who took no part in the second segment of qualifying following his crash.

    Raikkonen was top of the charts after the first runs, but his team mate Vettel in second had more time in hand after running very wide at the final turn.

    Hamilton slotted into third, just a tenth off the pace, ahead of Bottas and Ricciardo with Gasly and Carlos Sainz in the Renault the only other drivers to set a banker lap, albeit on used supersoft tyres.

    Vettel made no mistake on his second run, clocking the fastest first sector and personal bests in the next two to take pole. Raikkonen could not respond and will line up second.

    Bottas popped into third, ahead of Hamilton, who will start Sunday’s race ninth and has never won a race from outside the top six.

    Ricciardo was fifth quickest, two-tenths further back. Gasly was a sensational sixth, with Kevin Magnussen seventh for Haas. Hulkenberg, Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Sainz completed the top 10.

  2. This was a difficult qualifying session for McLaren-Honda and the team admitted it was ‘astonished’ by lack of pace. has the news story.

    Eric Boullier says McLaren will launch a major investigation into its failure to make Q3 for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne only managed to qualify in 13th and 14th positions respectively, despite Alonso having shown top-10 form in FP3 on Saturday.

    “Obviously it’s a bit of a surprise, based on the pace we had in FP3,” Boullier told Sky Sports F1 immediately after Q2. “There is a need for a big investigation.

    “On his last lap Fernando found some pace in Sector 2 and Sector 3, which would have helped earlier. We need to find out what’s going on.

    “The balance is fine, obviously there’s a lack of grip, that’s my conclusion for the poor performance, but they don’t report anything wrong.”

    McLaren scored a double points finish in the Melbourne season opener, which Alonso had started from a top-10 position.

    “We were struggling last year in Bahrain as well, which is something we need to investigate for this layout,” Boullier added.

    “Our pace in Australia was not a dream, it was real in the race, and we know it will be better here tomorrow than the one-lap pace.

    “But we need to find out why. We need to ask some questions at the factory.

    “Like all of us on the pitwall, to be honest, I’m a bit astonished and we need to understand what happened.”

  3. Max Verstappen has blamed a 150-horsepower surge from his Renault engine for triggering the Q1 crash that put him out of Formula 1 qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver put in a time good enough to get him through to Q2, and was completing a second high-speed lap to help sort out some engine settings.

    But as he ran across the kerbs at Turn 2, the back end of his RB14 stepped out and he spun across the track – hitting the barriers on the outside of the circuit.

    Having studied the telemetry data on his return to the garage, Verstappen uncovered a bizarre unexpected boost of power caused him to lose control.

    “It was unfortunate,” said Verstappen, who will start 15th. “I studied the data a bit and saw we had a 150hp increase, which is a bit odd.

    “The corner isn’t flat out, but it was like an off and off switch. It spun up the rear tyres quite aggressively and then I spun.

    “I didn’t anticipate it at all. With 150hp extra, suddenly it went and when you are already on the limit it is quite a lot.”

    Verstappen’s crash in qualifying in Bahrain has come just two weeks after the Dutchman also spun in the Australian Grand Prix, but team boss Christian Horner has denied suggestions the youngster is pushing too hard.

    “It is just racing,” Horner told Sky Sports. “That lap was never going to be a quicker lap, it was purely about giving the engine the opportunity to learn the optimum settings.

    “It was a mistake but he will have the chance to bounce back from it.”


  4. After scoring pole position, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel admitted that sorting the front end was the key to “surprising” Bahrain pole. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says an improved set-up to give him more confidence with the front end of his Ferrari was key to his “surprising” pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    With Vettel having admitted after the season opener in Australia that his team still needs to make big steps with its SF71H, rival Mercedes had come into the Sakhir weekend as favourite.

    However, thanks to some key steps made to improve his feel of the car, Vettel says that getting on top of the balance helped things “come alive” to deliver an all Ferrari front row.

    “We mostly tried to work on the set-up, and understanding the car,” he said. “We tried different things, but obviously on a weekend you don’t have much time.

    “In Australia the first race, on a tricky track, it is improving a lot through the weekend, and it is very bumpy, so it is difficult to change too much and draw conclusions.

    “But after the weekend, after the race distance, when you have so many laps. I had a very good understanding and feel, and we have been talking about it and looking into it.

    “Overall I have been happier this weekend with how the car has been responding and how the front end is responding. Y

    “ou also see it in the result, but I think the good news is that we are a lot closer in all the conditions, if you look at all the sessions. That is the only difference – for the rest it is the same car as Australia.”

    He added: “I think it is surprising for us after Australia to be that competitive.”

    Although Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas missed a place on the front row by just two hundredths of a second, the Finn says that his team is a bit baffled about why Ferrari has had the edge this weekend.

    “I agree we are not having the pace this weekend that we expected coming here, but we also didn’t have anything new since Melbourne,” said the Finn.

    “It is a very different circuit, different tarmac, different temperatures, so for sure we need to understand completely why.

    “We are struggling a little bit with overheating issues with the tyres, less so in the evening sessions, but still we have work to do.

    “Like we have been saying all through the beginning of the season, we are not miles away. Ferrari this weekend so far has been a quicker car and that is where we are.

    “We were better in Australia and we need to understand why we were not quickest today, but for sure we still have tomorrow to see how the pace is.”

  5. This was a fantastic qualifying session for Toro Rosso with Pierre Gasly achieving his best grid position of fifth. The team commented that this was a “huge step forward” in Bahrain compared to the season-opening race. has the news story.

    Toro Rosso didn’t expect the “huge step forward” delivered by the updates it brought to the Bahrain Grand Prix, according to driver Brendon Hartley.

    Hartley and teammate Pierre Gasly were eliminated in Q1 at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, in which the team would score no points – but both drivers then fared much better in Bahrain qualifying.

    The Kiwi came up just a tenth short of advancing to the final qualifying segment, while Gasly put the Honda-powered STR13 a shock fifth on the grid.

    Hartley said a new aero package was responsible for the performance step, and that the gains actually caught Toro Rosso by surprise.

    “The fact we’ve brought so much performance is really, really encouraging,” Hartley said.

    “I think the estimate from Toro Rosso of the performance from the upgrade was quite small – and it ended up being a lot larger than they estimated, which is also fantastic. It’s normally the other way.

    “I had the feeling this was going to be a stronger track for us anyway, compared to Melbourne. But I wasn’t expecting the performance increase from the upgrade that I had on the car today.

    “I don’t think anyone in the team expected us to take such a leap forward, to be one of the leading cars of the midfield. Obviously it’s a tight battle still but it’s an incredible effort.

    “In Melbourne we were not there. Okay, yeah, I qualified 16th, but that was more or less where we were, we saw the pace in the race. That was where we were.

    “We really made a huge step forward.”

    The update, according to Hartley, was a new floor as well as “parts on the brake drums”.

    While Gasly had the new package throughout Friday, the Kiwi tried it for the first time in Saturday practice, and immediately felt its impact.

    “Really big [difference], actually. Straight away this morning. I think my first lap I already commented how much better the car felt, so that was really encouraging from the first lap of this morning.”

    Gasly said Toro Rosso “expected less than a tenth” from the new aero package, conceding that “maybe it looks like it’s working really well, so maybe we need to analyse a bit more deeply the impact”.

    However, he felt the biggest difference from the Australian GP had to do with set-up.

    “The main thing is on the set-up,” he said. “We have changed quite a lot our philosophy. Melbourne is really special, so bumpy, and you need to change the set-up massively for that track.

    “Here we came back a bit closer to what we had for Barcelona, found some good or interesting directions for the set-up, and just felt super comfortable with the car from FP1.”

    He added that his Q3 effort was the best lap of his short F1 career thus far.

    “I didn’t know we’d get through to Q3 but it worked out and after I got through I just managed my best lap in Formula 1 in my first Q3.

    “Just great timing! I was really happy about it.”

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