Lewis Hamilton has stormed to pole position number ten of the season in a dominant qualifying display for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The incumbent world champion headed all three segments of qualifying to finish two-tenths up on teammate Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes 1-2.
Bottas had slipped back to third after the opening Q3 runs with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen splitting the silver arrow pairing.
However, the Finn would unlock nearly half-a-second on his last flying lap to seal another front-row lockout.
Verstappen will thus front an all-Red Bull second row as Alex Albon made amends for a big crash earlier in the weekend.
The shunt in FP2 left the team with a significant repair job to be done overnight and between sessions. But the Thai driver was able to reward these efforts with one of his most robust qualifying performances of the season.
The ever-consistent Sergio Perez was the sole Racing Point in the final shootout for pole. Nevertheless, the Mexican was able to place himself fifth, ahead of Renault duo Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.
Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly looked set to lodge a career-best result after sitting in the top-four for most of the latter stages of Q3. But he would be shuffled back to eighth as the rest of the field completed their final laps.
AlphaTauri teammate Daniil Kvyat ensures the two both start inside the top-ten and will grid up on either side of Lando Norris in the McLaren.
The second McLaren got no further than the start of Q2 when Carlos Sainz brought out a red flag following a brake failure. The Spaniard was hurled into a wild spin at Turn 1 after both rears locked, leaving him stranded on the exit of the corner.
Once the session resumed, those also missed out on a chance in Q3 included both Ferraris, George Russell and Lance Stroll.
Vetted was the Scuderia’s top qualifying, winning the intra-team battle by a mere 0.016s. Given Bahrain rewards straight-line performance, it is unsurprising to see zero Ferrari-powered cars inside the top-ten.
Stroll, meanwhile, complained of miscommunication with the team as he was left without any sets of new medium tyres after the red flag.
Stroll was a distant 13th, complaining of a “miscommunication” on the radio after the session – with the red flag appearing to have left the Canadian without any fresh sets of the medium.
Sainz’s red flag incident leaves him 15th where Antonio Giovinazzi will join him on the eighth row. The Alfa Romeo driver put in a brave final lap in Q1 to fall 0.027s shy of a spot in the next session.
Kimi Raikkonen was a further tenth behind his teammate and will start 17th, with the usual suspects making up the rest the grid.
Kevin Magnussen won the inter-Haas battle, beating Romain Grosjean to 18th. While, Nicholas Latifi suffered his 15th successive teammate defeat in qualifying, and will cap off the 20-car field.
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