Verstappen beats Leclerc, Russell to pole for Bahrain GP 2024

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Verstappen take pole for Bahrain Grand Prix 2024

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen grabbed pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix in a tight first qualifying session of the 2024 season, edging out Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell for top spot.

Verstappen produced a 1m 29.421s with his first Q3 run and worked his way down to a blistering 1m 29.179s during the second runs to ultimately finish two-tenths clear of Leclerc, with Russell a tenth further back in third position.

Carlos Sainz made it two Ferraris in the top four places, with Sergio Perez unable to produce more than fifth aboard the other Red Bull, lapping almost half a second slower than Verstappen across their decisive laps.

Fernando Alonso led Aston Martin’s charge in sixth, ahead of McLaren pair Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton having to settle for ninth in the second of the Mercedes machines.

Nico Hulkenberg impressed throughout qualifying to reach Q3 and round out the top 10 positions, providing a boost for a Haas team who have gone through a series of managerial changes over the winter period.

RB just missed out on a Q3 appearance as Yuki Tsunoda dropped out in the second phase in 11th position – an agoniszing seven hundredths slower than Piastri’s McLaren at the end of Q2 – followed by the other Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and the lead Williams of Alex Albon.

Max Verstappen Wins
Max Verstappen Wins

Daniel Ricciardo was a tenth-and-a-half slower than team mate Tsunoda on his way to 14th, with Kevin Magnussen failing to match Hulkenberg’s heroics in the other Haas as he took 15th, some seven tenths adrift in the intra-team battle, having lost one of his Q2 lap times for exceeding track limits.

Kick Sauber were unable to make it over the Q1 hurdle as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu wound up 16th and 17th respectively, the latter losing some time with a dramatic slide at the final corner, while Logan Sargeant was a chunk slower than team mate Albon en route to 18th amid traffic complaints.

A disastrous first qualifying session of the year for Alpine ended with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly at the very back of the field in respective P19 and P20 positions, prompting Ocon to send a classy message of encouragement over the radio to a team with plenty of work ahead.

With the dust settling on a thrilling session, the drivers and teams will now regroup before returning to the Bahrain International Circuit for the opening round of the 2024 campaign on Saturday evening.

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