Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton proved he’s not letting up after claiming the championship by taking his 98th pole position at Bahrain, as he took pole position in Bahrain.

The Brit was first in every session and beat his teammate by a quarter of a second, while Red Bull’s challenge faded after there’d been signs of optimism going into the afternoon.

Max Verstappen was third, with Alex Albon having one of his best qualifying results of the season as he secured fourth.

Carlos Sainz spun in Q2 which brought out red flags with nine minutes to go, the knock-on of which hamstrung Lance Stroll and got AlphaTauri out of jail.

Most cars can start on medium tyres in tomorrow’s race, as all but two drivers who made it through to Q3 did so on the mediums.

Lando Norris and Alex Albon are the two on the back foot as they had to use the soft tyres to reach final qualifying.

Bahrain GP: Red Bull looking strong in FP3 as Mercedes challenge falters

Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton tops stop-start FP2

F1 championship standings

Sergio Perez jumped both Renaults to take fifth, with Racing Point’s French rivals lining up sixth and seventh led by Daniel Ricciardo.

Ocon had looked in danger of going out in both Q1 and Q2 as he sat in the elimination zone before the final run, but put in strong buzzer-beater laps in both to reach Q3 and put his team in a good position in the battle for third in the constructors’ championship.

Pierre Gasly qualified behind his compatriot, with Daniil Kvyat tenth and Norris splitting the pair.

Stroll was the notable omission from Q3, returning to his poor form that he’s suffered since Mugello – apart from a strong weekend in Turkey he’s scored no points since his podium at Monza.

On his cooldown lap he blamed a ‘miscommunication’ for the failure, and it transpired that he went out on used medium tyres because he’d used both his new sets before the final flying lap.

He’ll start behind the Ferrari pair, who are in a good position tomorrow starting 11th and 12th on the mediums, Vettel ahead of Leclerc, with George Russell in 14th after suffering the same tyre situation as Stroll.

Sainz caused span on the entry to turn one which brought the stoppage to the session, before any driver had got a time on the board.

His rear tyres locked on the corner entry and he pirouetted as he tried to make the turn, unable to complete the session. After a promising FP3, McLaren aren’t in a great position heading into the race with Sainz in 15th and Norris on the soft tyres.

The red flag with nine minutes left of Q2 split teams’ strategies, with some attempting two runs with a tight turnaround in between, and others just doing one flying lap at the end.

That benefitted AlphaTauri, who had been the only team to head out on soft tyres in Q2 which would’ve compromised them for the race but then swapped to the mediums for their final run.

‘Mr Saturday’ George Russell was again the Class C runner to make it through to Q2, while Lando Norris was in danger or not joining his compatriot as he was only 0.027 ahead of Giovinazzi.

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