Sebastian Vettel lifted by Ferrari gains after taking Bahrain pole

Sebastian Vettel praised Ferrari’s progress as he led a front-row lockout for the team during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Vettel claimed victory in the season-opening race in Australia but accepted he needed to improve his feeling with the SF71-H in order to suit his driving style.

Vettel entered qualifying without receiving his final one-lap simulation during final practice due to a suspected turbo issue, with Ferrari changing his Control Electronics as a precaution, his second of two permitted component usages this year.

Vettel made an error exiting the final corner on his first run in Q3 but made amends on his second push lap to move ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen was unable to respond, in turn sealing the 51st pole position of Vettel’s career, as he prepares for his 200th Formula 1 start on Sunday.

“On the first run in Q3 I was very happy and then I tossed it away in the last corner,” said Vettel.

“The car was excellent all weekend so far.

“I think Australia was more of a fight [and] I think we worked on the balance.

“We looked into quite a lot, we proved it yesterday, today, even though it’s not easy because we do the practice session when the sun is up and qualifying and the race is when the sun is down, but the car was responding so I’m very pleased.”

Raikkonen, meanwhile, cut a downbeat figure after being overhauled during the final push laps.

“For sure, not ideal,” said Raikkonen. “Far from ideal in the last run with the traffic but what can I do.

“We’re on Saturday, tomorrow is the main thing and tomorrow is the one where we get the points or we don’t get the points so obviously we’ll see what we can do then.”