F1 2019: Leclerc on Pole as Ferrari strike back

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc takes his 1st Pole Position of his F1 career ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton as both McLaren’s qualify in the top 10.

30/03/19

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will be on Pole Position ahead of the Bahrain GP having taking his debut front-row start ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes Lewis Hamilton will start in 3rd ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas although 3 tenths behind the lead Ferrari.

After topping Q1 and Q2, Leclerc was already on Provisional Pole Position after his first run in Q3. In fact, his first run was equalled Vettel’s pole position lap time from last year. However, Leclerc’s second lap was an improvement to a 1:27.866, nearly 3 tenths ahead of his 4 time world champion team-mate.

“Yesss!!! Thanks guys, car was amazing. I’ll push to try and finish the job tomorrow…” That was the response from Leclerc after he crossed the line at the end of Q3. Vettel was compromised in Q2 after a poor lap meant that he only had one set on the new Soft tyre for Q3 meaning he only did one lap.

Have the tables turned? Mercedes have been second best to Ferrari so far this weekend but Lewis Hamilton was optimistic and pleased to be within a tenth of Vettel’s time. Australian race winner, Valterri Bottas, was 4th and less than a tenth behind his team-mate. What could help Mercedes is that their long-run pace looks just a tad better than the Scuderia’s. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was a distant 5th, 5 tenths behind Bottas’s time.

To be within half a tenth of a Red Bull will very much please Haas. Once again, Kevin Magnussen was best of the rest in 6th in which the Dane was delighted with. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr was 7th with the other Haas of Romain Grosjean in 8th. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was a disappointing 11th just ahead of the lead Toro Rosso of Alexander Albon. The struggling Red Bull of Pierre Gasly was 13th just ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was 16th ahead of Q1’s surprise exit, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll continued his streak of being eliminated in Q1 and was comfortably ahead of the Williams of George Russell and Robert Kubica.

Bahrain Qualifying Result

1.Leclerc  2.Vettel  3.Hamilton  4.Bottas  5.Verstappen  6.Magnussen  7.Sainz Jr  8.Grosjean  9.Raikkonen  10.Norris  11.Ricciardo  12.Albon  13.Gasly  14.Perez  15.Kvyat  16.Giovinazzi  17.Hulkenberg  18.Stroll  19.Russell  20.Kubica

Qualifying Stats

  • At 21 years and 166 days old, Charles Leclerc is the second youngest pole-sitter in F1 history.
  • Qualifying in 5th is Max Verstappen’s best start in Bahrain. His previous best start was in 6th.
  • With Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris in the top 10 for McLaren, it was the first time this feat had been achieved since the 2017 Malaysian GP.

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