Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position after narrowly out qualifying his Ferrari teammate for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The German pulled a lap together in the closing moments of the session to go a tenth faster than his teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen had looked to have the slight edge early on but struggled to pull the lap together in the closing moments of the session when Vettel was on the supersoft tyres. Going in faster on he supersoft tyres to take his fifty-first pole.
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was just twenty-three thousandths of a second off the pace after the Finn improved on his final run putting in a 27.9 on the supersofts to out-qualify teammate Lewis Hamilton by six-thousandths of a second. However, the four times champion will start ninth because of a gearbox change.
Vettel said “We have good pace, the car is working. in Australia, I think we struggled a little bit with the feel of the car. Here, it has been better and we improve a little bit. It’s getting better and today was quite nice, the car came alive.”
Bottas added “We made some good progress through the weekend. We tried some things that didn’t work which is why the gap was sometimes bigger. The set-up was right. Hopefully, Lewis can come through the field.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth fastest the Red Bull driver being four tenths off the Ferrari. It was a difficult session for his teammate Max Verstappen, who crashed out of qualifying. The Dutchman lost the rear of his car through Turn Two then locked up and spun off.
Verstappen then went into a spin and across the gravel before crashing into the barrier. The Dutchman had been safely in the top six at the time, but that mistake means he will start no higher than fifteenth.
Pierre Gasly put in a surprise performance to put the Toro Rosso powered Honda sixth fastest. The Frenchman going almost two-thousandths of a second faster than the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Force India’s Esteban Ocon managed to spilt the Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg.
Also impressing was Brendon Hartley who out-qualified both the McLarens at the home race of the teams Bahraini owners. McLaren ditched the Honda power at the end of 2017, but so far this year that move appears not to be paying off as the manufacturer has proven to be reliable.
Hartley missed out on Q3 by nine-thousandths of a second, admitting that a mistake in the final corner cost him time. Haas’s strong form from Melbourne was not on show in Bahrain, Verstappen’s accident in Q1 brought out the red flags as Romain Grosjean failed to improve his time.
The Frenchman complaining of a messy out lap, that meant his tyre preparation was not as good as it could be and he set a time 0.936s off Haas teammate Magnussen.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson qualified 15th ahead of Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin and teammate Charles Leclerc, who spun off in the final corner of his flying lap. Lance Stroll will start dead last after setting a time 0.089s off teammate Sirotkin.