Max Verstappen takes pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Max Verstappen takes pole position ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez for the Bahrain Grand Prix… as the defending champion lays down an early marker to his rivals

  • Max Verstappen sealed the 21st pole position of his Formula One career
  • He just edged out teammate Sergio Perez, with Charles Leclerc third
  • Lewis Hamilton could only qualify seventh-fastest, just behind George Russell 

Max Verstappen started his title defence by taking pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman, who is chasing a third successive world championship, converted pre-season form into reality by pipping team-mate Sergio Perez in a Red Bull lockout. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third quickest, three-tenths off the pace.

Carlos Sainz qualified fourth.

Fernando Alonso was fifth best for Aston Martin – while George Russell beat Mercedes partner Lewis Hamilton, fifth versus sixth, the gap four-hundredths between themselves, but six-tenths back from Verstappen.

The pecking order conformed to general expectations with Red Bull top, followed by Ferrari, Aston Martin and Mercedes.

Max Verstappen took pole position in Bahrain and was delighted with his start to the season

Sergio Perez will start on the front row alongside Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc third

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will start in seventh after a disappointing Q3

Lance Stroll just squeezed out of Q2 with his final last run, condemning McLaren’s Lando Norris to 11th. McLaren’s other driver, rookie Oscar Piastri, was 18th, a learning curve in front of him.

Stroll ended up eighth – not a bad effort at all after the Canadian required surgery on his wrist following a bicycle accident a couple of weeks ago. 

He wore a plaster and support on his left hand, where the procedure was performed, while the other wrist was sore, as was his foot.

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