Charles Leclerc will be on pole position for the first time in Formula 1 after finishing fastest in qualifying in Bahrain.
Leclerc, in only his second race for Ferrari, strolled to pole with relative ease after a flawless qualifying performance, which saw him top all three of the qualifying sessions on his way to pole position.
Leclerc’s team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, had a slightly more difficult time out on track but still managed to finish in second place after narrowly edging out Lewis Hamilton for third.
However, Vettel’s Q3 was slightly compromised after a fairly slow initial run in Q2 caused the German to use another set the softest tyres in Q2, thus only allowing Vettel one run in Q3. Vettel finished qualifying almost three-tenths behind Leclerc.
Mercedes’ relative struggles in comparison to Ferrari continued into qualifying, with Hamilton and Bottas started the grid in third and fourth.
Both drivers were able to narrow the gap between themselves and Ferrari but they weren’t able to mount any form of meaningful challenge towards Leclerc and Vettel.
Max Verstappen followed in fifth while his team-mate, Pierre Gasly, struggled once more in qualifying and finds himself languishing in 13th for tomorrow’s race.
Gasly complained after the session, citing a lack of rear grip as the cause for his lacklustre performance but faces the embarrassment of being out-qualified by one of Red Bull’s junior drivers, Alexander Albon who himself had a fairly solid run to 12th.
Albon’s team-mate Daniil Kvyat hit trouble halfway through Q2 so could only manage 15th.
Kevin Magnussen topped the midfield after a stellar lap in Q3 saw him finishing in sixth position while his team-mate Romain Grosjean ended up in eighth. However, Grosjean may face a penalty from the steward’s office after heavily impeding the McLaren of Lando Norris in Q1.
McLaren’s surprisingly good show of pace continued as the team got both cars into Q3. The aforementioned Norris survived the block of Grosjean and finished in tenth while his team-mate Sainz went one better and finished in seventh. Kimi Raikkonen rounded off the top 10 in ninth.
Renault’s lack of pace was the big shock of the session, with both cars failing to make it into Q3. Daniel Ricciardo could only manage 11th while Nico Hulkenberg, even more shocking given his blistering pace on Friday, failed to make it out of Q1 and will start in a lowly 17th.
Both Racing Points struggled, with Perez in 14th and Stroll only in 16th, and Williams continued its dire start to the season by locking out the back row of the grid once more.