Vettel leads Ferrari sweep of qualifying

Vettel leads Ferrari sweep of qualifying

Formula 1

Vettel leads Ferrari sweep of qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel will start from pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix as Ferrari secured a one-two, with Lewis Hamilton set to start ninth and Max Verstappen crashing out in Q1.

While Kimi Raikkonen had been quickest throughout much of the weekend – including the first runs in Q3 – Vettel stole pole by 0.143s with a 1m27.958s. Raikkonen will line up alongside his teammate on the front row with Valtteri Bottas third ahead of Hamilton, who will drop to ninth as a result of a gearbox penalty but starts on the soft compound tire compared to the supersofts for the rest of the top 10.

Daniel Ricciardo will move up to fourth on the grid as a result, although his teammate was the bigger surprise after crashing during the first part of qualifying when Red Bull had looked competitive.

Verstappen lost control exiting Turn 2 – at the same place Marcus Ericsson had spun on Friday – and ended up sliding through the gravel at high speed before damaging his left-front corner in the tire barrier. The incident brought out the red flag, with Verstappen fourth at the time but eliminated in 15th place in Q2 as he was unable to post another time.

Fifth on the grid will be Pierre Gasly after an excellent performance from the Toro Rosso rookie. In only his seventh Formula 1 start, Gasly was sixth quickest after delivering under pressure to pip Kevin Magnussen by just 0.029s. Hamilton’s penalty promotes the Toro Rosso to fifth in what will be a major boost to power unit supplier Honda.

Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top 10, with Hulkenberg and Ocon also profiting from Hamilton’s penalty to move up a position on the grid.

Toro Rosso very nearly had both cars in Q3 as Brendon Hartley missed out on a place in the final part of qualifying by just 0.096s after making a slight error on his final lap. The New Zealander had needed to change his front wing during Q1 after damaging it when hitting a bird, but still ensured both Toro Rossos outqualified the two McLarens.

Sergio Perez was close behind Hartley but unable to join Ocon in Q3, while Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were 13th and 14th, respectively, the two slowest drivers in the second part of qualifying as Verstappen didn’t run.

It could have been even worse for McLaren – and Alonso specifically – as Romain Grosjean made an error at the final corner and failed to beat the Spaniard in Q1. Grosjean had already had a big lock-up at Turn 1 earlier in the session as he struggled with his Haas, but ended up posting an identical lap time as Alonso, dropping out in 16th place due to the fact that the McLaren had posted the time first.

Marcus Ericsson was half a second adrift in 17th place as Sauber and Williams failed to seriously threaten to progress, with Sergey Sirotkin the lead Williams. Charles Leclerc ended up 19th after spinning at the final corner on his last attempt, with Lance Stroll 20th.

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