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Bahrain GP: Leclerc grabs first F1 pole in Ferrari front row lockout

Charles Leclerc claimed his first Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix as Ferrari locked out the front row

The 21-year-old put in a dominant performance in Q3, setting two lap times good enough for pole position.

On his first run, Leclerc set a 1m27.958s on soft Pirellis, which gave him the advantage over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton given Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel did not attempt an initial run.

Leclerc then went out and improved to a 1m27.866s on his second attempt, which was three-tenths faster than Vettel managed on his sole run.

Hamilton lapped just 0.030 seconds slower than Vettel to take third, 0.066s faster than Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was best of the rest in fifth, but he faced a tough challenge from Haas driver Kevin Magnussen - who ended up just 0.005s further behind.

Carlos Sainz Jr capped a strong qualifying session for McLaren with seventh, supported by team-mate Lando Norris who was also in Q3 and ended up 10th.

Romain Grosjean, in the second Haas, and Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen ended up between them in eighth and ninth respectively.

All drivers in the top 10 set their fastest lap in Q2 on soft rubber, meaning they will start the race on those tyres.

Daniel Ricciardo was 11th fastest for Renault after lapping just 0.017s slower than Raikkonen in Q2.

He did not improve on his second run, meaning he was not able to improve on the position he claimed at the first attempt.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon was 12th fastest, just 0.042s away from a place in Q1 despite only having one set of fresh softs for Q2, beating Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly.

Gasly failed to improve on his time from the first run, complaining over the radio that "I can't put the throttle down, I don't know why - it snaps everywhere".

Sergio Perez only had one run on fresh softs in Q2, which was good enough for 14th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who did not head out for a second run.

Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th after lapping just 0.067s slower than team-mate Raikkonen.

The Italian briefly lifted himself out of the dropzone with his pace on his second set of softs, only to be shuffled back down during a quickfire flurry of late improvements - subsequently complaining that his front tyres were too cold.

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg was the big casualty in Q1 after only improving by just over two tenths on his second run, which put him just ahead of the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll.

George Russell prevailed in the battle of the Williams drivers in 19th place, just four-hundredths of a second faster than team-mate Robert Kubica after complaining over the radio that the "tyres were well out of the window".

Starting grid

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m27.866s -
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m28.160s 0.294s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m28.190s 0.324s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m28.256s 0.390s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1m28.752s 0.886s
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m28.757s 0.891s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1m28.813s 0.947s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m29.022s 1.156s
9 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1m29.043s 1.177s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m29.488s 1.622s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m29.015s 1.149s
12 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso/Honda 1m29.513s 1.647s
13 Pierre Gasly Red Bull/Honda 1m29.526s 1.660s
14 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1m29.756s 1.890s
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 1m29.854s 1.988s
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1m30.026s 2.160s
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m30.034s 2.168s
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1m30.217s 2.351s
19 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1m31.759s 3.893s
20 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 1m31.799s 3.933s

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