Max Verstappen will start tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position after topping qualifying ahead of Sergio Perez.
Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso failed to recreate their successes from practice, but have still proven to be in the mix.
READ MORE: Bahrain GP 2023 – Qualifying results
There were early issues for Charles Leclerc in Q1 who lost some bodywork on the main straight which Ferrari said came from the wheel arches.
A red flag was then brought out to clear up the debris which the Ferrari had left on the track.
After the first runs, Carlos Sainz was the early pacesetter with a 1:30.993.
Russell sat 0.06s behind ahead of Leclerc and Alonso also within 0.2s of Sainz’s pace.
The first run would reveal the extent of McLaren’s downfall with Norris and Piastri left in 17th and 18th, some 1.5s off the pace.
The track ramped up towards the end of the session and a flurry of green sectors lit up the timing screens. Five different teams were knocked out in Q1. Sargeant matched the time of Norris, but too late to make it out of the elimination zone.
Magnussen’s best effort was only good enough for 17th while teammate Hulkenberg ended in 6th.
Rookies Piastri and De Vries had to settle for 18th and 19th while Gasly while start 20th after having his final lap deleted for track limits. Just 1.1 seconds separated the entire field.
Red Bull set the early pace in Q2 with Verstappen setting a 1:30.503. Perez slotted in behind ahead of both Mercedes, then Alonso and both Ferrari’s. Stroll had a difficult first lap 1.8s off the pace.
The final runs in Q2 saw Leclerc clear Verstappen by 0.2s. Both Red Bull’s stayed in the pits, but Hamilton and Russell were both able to match Verstappen’s time. Hulkenberg managed to drag the Haas into Q3 just 0.5s off the pace. Stroll only just squeezed into the top 10 shootout with P10.
Out of Q2 were Norris, Bottas, Zhou, Tsunoda and Albon.
Max Verstappen was the first driver to break into the 1:29s with a 1:29.897. Leclerc sat 1-tenth behind ahead of Perez and Alonso. Leclerc would not run again meaning Sainz was the only Ferrari left to challenge Verstappen’s time. Ferrari later confirmed that this was to save a set of fresh softs for the race.
As the chequered flag was thrown, defending champion Verstappen improved to a 1:29.708. Perez also improved to a 1:29.846. Leclerc leads a Ferrari second row.
Alonso’s time was good enough for fifth while teammate Stroll could only manage P8. The Mercedes were both 0.6s off the pace of Verstappen with Russell P6, and Hamilton P7. Ocon and Hulkenberg round out the top 10.