Leclerc storms to pole position for Bahrain Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc stormed to pole position for the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix from his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The young Ferrari driver set a new lap record around the Bahrain International Circuit with a time of 1m27.866 to secure his first ever pole position in Formula 1.

After struggling for speed last time out in Australia, the prancing Horses have regained what they showed in pre-season testing this weekend.

After Qualifying, Leclerc said; “I’m extremely happy, in the last race I was not very happy with my Qualifying, I did some mistakes in Q3 – I really worked hard to not do the same mistakes in Q3 here.

Leclerc made mistakes in Australia. (Photo credit: Autoweek)

“It seems that we done quite a good job with a front row lock-out so I’m extremely happy.
“It’s hard to come up against Seb (Sebastian Vettel) because he is an amazing driver, I’ve learnt a lot from him and I’ll learn all year long with him, but today I’m very happy to be in front of him – it’s a good day for me.”

Vettel, who had to use an extra set of tyres in Qualifying said; “First of all, you have to make it to the end. Maybe I was a bit shy in the second sector, but I think in the end Charles did a very good job today and deserves to be on pole.

“I’m happy with the one run we had at the end to get second – it puts us in a good position for tomorrow.

“The car’s felt a lot better this weekend and it’s only going to get better so hopefully we can also carry that into the race tomorrow.”

The Mercedes have not been able to match the Ferrari’s for pace so far this weekend but Hamilton, who will line up third, said, “It was great to see the progression from us over the weekend.

Hamilton and his Mercedes team haven’t been able to match the Ferrari’s so far in Bahrain. (Photo credit: Autosport)

“The Ferrari’s have been incredibly quick all weekend, Charles did an amazing job so congratulations to him. It was very close between me and Sebastian – on the last lap there was a little bit of time there but that’s part of this whole game.

“Tomorrow is still an important day, it’ll be interesting to see how we do, but we’re going to give them a good fight – that’s for sure!

“Ferrari have shown incredible pace but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beat, so we’ll keep working at it, keep our heads down and see what happens.”

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas will line up fourth with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen starting fifth ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

Carlos Sainz will line up in seventh with Romain Grosjean eighth, Kimi Raikkonen ninth and Lando Norris rounding out the top ten with another superb effort.

Header image from Motorsport Images

By Jordan Hollands.

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