Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix, leading a Red Bull one-two. He beat his teammate Sergio Perez by 0.138 seconds, with the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the second row. Fernando Alonso impressed with fifth place for his Aston Martin debut, finishing ahead of both Mercedes cars. George Russell managed to outperform his teammate Lewis Hamilton and secure sixth place by just 0.044 seconds.
Leclerc initially had a chance to take pole position but Ferrari chose not to do a second run, costing Leclerc an opportunity to start the race on new tires. Red Bull had been strong pre-season favorites but had struggled to make their car handle in a way that satisfied their drivers.
Verstappen expressed his surprise at securing pole position after struggling to find his rhythm during practice. Perez was pleased with the team’s performance, though he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the balance of his car. Leclerc stated that Ferrari’s decision to withdraw from the battle for pole was based on their knowledge of inferior tire wear. Sainz, on the other hand, did a second run but could only manage fourth place.
Despite the tight competition, the grid had a look that many would have predicted after the testing last week. Leclerc noted that while his team was in the fight for pole, they have been struggling with long runs. Starting on new tires may give them an advantage in the race.
Overall, Verstappen’s pole position was well-deserved after the team’s initial struggles in practice. The Red Bull team will be hoping to capitalize on their strong position and start the season with a win.