World champion Max Verstappen has captured the first pole position of the new Formula 1 season. The Red Bull driver from the Netherlands beat his Mexican team-mate Sergio Perez and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc (Monaco) in qualifying in Bahrain. The highly traded Aston Martin with ex-world champion Fernando Alonso (Spain) at the wheel came in fifth. Here are the qualifying results.
Returnee Nico Hülkenberg (Emmerich) placed Den Haas in a strong tenth place on the grid for his first race as a regular driver since the end of 2019. In addition, the 35-year-old clearly won the stable duel with Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen (17th) before the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday (4 p.m. CET / Sky).
“We got it together today and are very happy,” said Verstappen: “Usually we’re even better in the race.” Last year’s World Championship runner-up Leclerc said: “We fought for pole position, which was a good surprise to be honest.” The Monegasque went on to explain that he had saved a fresh set of tires for the race to have an advantage there.
The Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton (both England) showed themselves to be significantly improved with sixth and seventh place compared to Friday’s practice session, but the Silver Arrows are far from the top. Verstappen clinched his 21st pole position, with a time of 1:29.708 minutes, the 25-year-old was significantly faster than in the test drives a week ago at the same place.