- The first qualifying session of the year was a scintillating one, and Max Verstappen emerged as the poleman (Credit: Red Bull Racing Honda)

Bahrain 2021: Qualifying Debrief

Max Verstappen takes the opening pole position of the year, and places himself in prime position for tomorrow's race.

12w ago
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After dominating the weekend to-date, Max Verstappen has taken back to back poles for the first time in his career, beating Lewis Hamilton to the top position by more than four tenths of a second.

Such was the domination by Verstappen that chief rival Hamilton conceded that his lap was the "best that [he] could do"; teammate Bottas, who starts 3rd, echoed similar sentiments, commenting on his "difficult practice".

Its a good start for us

Max Verstappen

Nikita Mazepin opened up the qualifying session by spinning not once, but twice, and as a result finished dead last. Verstappen's potential pole looked to be undone at the first hurdle in Q1, as he rode a kerb in aggressive fashion, shearing off underside aero pieces. Debutant Tsunoda and his teammate Gasly posted impressive opening laps.

However, it was Mazepin, Schumacher, Latifi, Ocon and shockingly, Sebastian Vettel, who were eliminated from the session.

Q2 got off without a hitch, and Ferrari finished it in 1st and 2nd, albeit on the faster soft compound which they will use for the race tomorrow. Ricciardo and Perez had laps deleted, a fatal blow to the Mexican driver who finished just shy of the top 10, in eleventh. Giovinazzi had done well to make it to Q2 alongside his teammate Raikkonen.

Perez, Giovinazzi, Tsunoda, Raikkonen and Mr. Saturday, George Russel were eliminated.

We were left with an enjoyable fight, with pole position as the reward. The returning Fernando Alonso, who gets to his first Q3 appearance since Monaco 2018 finished 9th. Ricciardo and Norris finished 6th and 7th respectively, ahead of Sainz.

Max Verstappen pulled out an absolute screamer of a lap, putting the axe to Mercedes... for the time being.

The Flying Dutchman puts himself in prime position for taking the win tomorrow, but its all to play for with both Mercedes' behind him.

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