Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Vettel leads Ferrari one-two after Verstappen crashes

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel ended Mercedes’ five-year run of pole positions in Bahrain as Ferrari claimed the front row of the grid for Sunday’s race.

The Mercedes pair were bumped back to the second row of the grid, though Lewis Hamilton will fall to ninth after his five-place penalty is applied.

Daniel Ricciardo was the only Red Bull driver to reach Q3 after team mate Max Verstappen crashed in the first part of qualifying.

Q1

The Ferrari pair and Valtteri Bottas made their way through Q1 without using the super-soft tyres. Running on the harder soft tyres, they occupied the top three places after their runs, the Mercedes trailing the red cars by two-tenths of a second.

Verstappen got closest to them on the super-softs but was continuing to push when his Red Bull got away from him at turn two. He spun off in a near carbon copy of Marcus Ericsson’s mistake in second practice yesterday, but the RB14 made it all the way to the barrier and wrecked its front-left corner.

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Hartley survived a bird strike to reach Q2
Verstappen was unhurt, but his participation in qualifying was over. The red flags flew while his car was recovered.

The session resumed with five minutes left and several drivers eager to improve having lost time when DRS was disabled due to an earlier yellow flag. They included Fernando Alonso, who was frustrated at having to run again.

It nearly got a lot worse for Alonso. His last effort put him 12th initially but as his rivals improved he slipped to the cusp of the drop zone. Among the last to run was Romain Grosjean, who had spoiled his first run by running wide at turn one. On his last run he went wide at the final corner and crossed the line with an identical lap time to Alonso.

As the McLaren driver had set the time first, Grosjean was out. He apologised to his team on the way back to the pits. Charles Leclerc was also in a chastened mood after spinning off at the last corner, ending up 19th. Team mate Ericsson was also eliminated along with the Williams pair.

Both Toro Rosso drivers made it through, Brendon Hartley joining his team mate despite an unlucky incident on his first lap. Hartley struck a bird at turn seven, leaving him with front wing damage.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’30.530
17Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’31.063
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’31.414
19Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’31.420
20Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’31.503

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Q2

Facing an inevitably five-place grid drop due to his gearbox change penalty, Hamilton elected to start the race on soft tyres, which meant he had to run them for his flying lap in Q2. Encouragingly for Mercedes, he ended up second, one-tenth slower than Vettel managed on the super-soft tyres.

Nico Hulkenberg had suffered a loss of power at the end of his first run in Q1. There was no repeat of the glitch on his flying lap at the end of Q2 which put him an impressive sixth, six-tenths of a second quicker than his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr, who also reached Q3.

They were joined by the sole remaining Haas of Kevin Magnussen, Gasly’s Toro Rosso and Esteban Ocon in the Force India. Hartley missed the cut by a tenth of a second.

Both McLarens failed to progress any further, the pair being the slowest of the cars which ran in the second part of qualifying.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’30.105
12Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’30.156
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’30.212
14Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’30.525
15Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer

Q3

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
While Mercedes could get close to Ferrari’s pace on the soft tyre, Q3 exposed their weakness on the super-soft. The red cars consistently had the edge on them around the Bahrain circuit on the softer rubber. Raikkonen led the way after the first runs after Vettel slipped up at the final corner.

Hamilton could only manage third with his first effort. His predicament worsened on his final run where he lost time in the first two sectors, rendering his quickest run through the final sector irrelevant. Adding insult to injury, Bottas improved with his final run to claim third.

The Ferrari drivers also swapped positions on their final runs. Raikkonen blamed traffic while Vettel became the only driver to lap the Bahrain circuit in under 88 seconds, claiming pole position as he did.

From the tightly-knit midfield Gasly produced a stellar run to take sixth, which will become fifth after Hamilton’s penalty. He beat Magnussen’s Haas by less than three-hundredths of a second.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelFerrari1’27.958
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’28.101
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’28.124
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’28.220
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’28.398
6Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’29.329
7Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’29.358
8Nico HulkenbergRenault1’29.570
9Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’29.874
10Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’29.986

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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110 comments on “Vettel leads Ferrari one-two after Verstappen crashes”

  1. I was expecting a faster lap from the Mercs. Are they in damage limitation and saving engines this weekend?

    1. @faulty no i don’t think so, i think they’re just genuinly slower and that ferrari wasn’t bluffing in practice with higher power modes, it also seems the race pace of ferrari was a bit faster.

    2. “Damage limitation” wouldn’t really apply to Bottas, would it? @faulty

    3. Ferrari has been the fastest car all weekend, Mercedes only able to close up as the track temperature dropped into Qualifying.

    4. Ferrari taking away the lead from Mercedes
      is great for F1 and fans. Well done Ferrari!

      1. And this is one of the tracks where pole sitter rarely wins the race.

        1. Guy on pole has won from pole before.

    5. Guybrush Threepwood
      7th April 2018, 22:45

      Merc were half a second off Ferrari until they turned their engines up in Q3 – and Q2 for Lewis to make sure he could start on the Soft tyre.

    6. Bottas only beat Hamilton because of the penalty. Bottas is a really bad driver, no talent, though Max is great he never takes it too far, Ricciardo is under massive pressure.

      1. Justin (@boombazookajd)
        8th April 2018, 4:27

        Bottas isn’t a “really bad driver”. And from your “Max…never takes it too far” comment, well, its pretty clear you are very uneducated.

        Gutierrez, Maldonado, Merhi…they were really bad drivers at the F1 level. Max isn’t great either; Lewis, Seb, Fernando, Kimi..they are great drivers of our era. Max still needs to learn a few things, much like Lewis and Seb did when they were younger (and not yet great).

        The only truth to your statement is that Danny is under massive pressure, as all drivers in the final year (like Bottas last year) of their contract are in. And Bottas beat Hamilton straight up.

      2. Merc as a team was not on top of their game. Clearly, the car is still a ‘diva’ and horsepower and trick power modes are not the only factors that determine a quick lap and track conditions matter too. The car was quick only in parts of the track unlike Ferrari which was more conditioned to the track conditions and therefore worked well throughout the qualifying session.
        Bottas is not a bad driver. When the conditions are suitable he can drive fast. But he is no Hamilton or Vettel who can bring in the driver factor in a quick lap. Max often takes it too far…which is all right given his age and good for spectators. Yes Riccaiardo is under pressure, he is a bit behind Max on pure pace. But he makes less mistake and therefore scores more points.

  2. Well done, Toro Rosso.

    1. Ron D had a genius idea but patience is virtue, and when there are millions involved, pressure to produce short term result tends to win.. I knew McLaren would regret leaving Honda sooner rather than later it looks like most certainly this year.

      1. From watching the Amazon miniseries, I got the impression that “If Ron were running things…”

        File Under: Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

        1. ……Again, Honda had the chance over three years and they blew it….l say we wait until AbuDhabi before we start the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” game. So far, that Renault engine seems decent enough….if l have to question something here, it’s the claim that McLaren was on top of their game in the aero package…..both drivers say the balance was good yet they are behind TR’s Gasley?

    2. Good job from Torro Rosso and Honda. Torro Rosso definitely produce very good cars given their size and budget and Honda seems to be going in the right direction. Gasly is doing a good job too and Hartley should be concerned.

  3. Got my predictions wrong for pole, it vettel instead of kimi, also the lap times wereslower then i expected, great jobe Ferrari tho

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      7th April 2018, 22:42

      I dunno, it seems to me like Raikonnen thought he should have won pole in the interview…

      1. Ferrari must’ve slowed Kimi on Qualifying.

  4. This ladies and gents in the power of dreams. Honda is back.
    Turns out Nando needs to look down after all. @esploratore

    Strange how stuff keeps happening to Verstappen…. everybody called him the most brave and controlled driver, especially for his age, and now he just loses it out of nowhere. I can remember me calling something like this two weeks ago. Hmm.

    1. @xiasitlo If Hamilton can crash in qualifying after so much experience, young Verstappen surely can do too. Sometimes it just happens.

      1. “Young Verstappen” has 61 starts to his name. Jim Clark had 71 and Gilles 68.

        1. True that. VER drives like grandma!

      2. But bottas can’t @flatsix he’s under massive pressure, I never rated him, he’s just talentless.

    2. @xiasitlo
      Everybody?
      I see your typ of comments in every section about Max. In the livechat there was like 4 people shouting “Max is unreliable” 2sec after his crash.

    3. Was always gonna happen, if Honda stayed at McLaren they’d have been terrible again though. Such is fate.

      1. Thing is, other Renault powered cars are quite OK. Red Bulls were way ahead. Considering STR is about 1s off RBR usually, their engine must be super close to Renault.

    4. Red bull/VER confirmed, data shows in the corner 150PK extra deployed out of nowhere.
      Caused the spin.

      1. @all Erikje is right btw here, but I meant I called some ”internal” struggle in RBR a while back that would cause these problems.

      2. Reminiscent of the Ferrari of 2015 which deployed sudden surges of power causing initially perplexing spins that looked like driver error till the data was examined.

      3. I was wondering what excuse Verstappen and RBR was going to come up with. Basically Max couldn’t handle the extra power.

    5. @xiasitlo you quoted me cause of verstappen or cause of honda?

      Assuming it’s honda, I’m really surprised by this performance, I actually can’t explain how it’s possible that mclaren can be slower than toro rosso even just in qualifying, they have better drivers, an engine which was much better last year, so even if honda improved it’s a huge jump, I’m really disappointed by mclaren’s chassis, it’s not really up to the level they claimed, 2 sec behind red bull?

      About verstappen, I’ve heard it’s a reliability problem, so wouldn’t blame him; having said that if it’s a mistake, it’s rare of him to make mistakes 2 races in a row.

    6. @xiasitlo about Max, not only that, but Max made mistakes last season too, not to mention he sometimes took too many risks at race starts. If it had been Bottas, that Finn is really bad, bad driver, talentless, useless.

  5. More proof that it wasn’t just Honda who were goofing up previously? McLaren genuinely seem to have lost the ability to make a good car, even Renault power can’t help them.

  6. Verstappen seemed a bit flummoxed when talking to Marko on the broadcast about the car stepping out. PR? His mistake? Underlying car issues?

    No one seemed happy about that smoke coming from the Ferrari garage (although brilliant comments from the Sky commentary team about it.) Oil burning to get around the flow limit rules or reading too much into that?

    Painful for McLaren, and so it should be… Alonso getting good value out of his brand and the Kimoa sponsorship though. Great work from Gasly. Painful for Grosjean and Leclerc :(

    All in all entertaining none the less. Forza Ferrari!

    1. @skipgamer
      It isnt comming out of their garage, they roll out the cars before they start them just so they dont smoke themselfs ;P

      1. I loved the line about Maurizio firing up a shisa pipe from Brundle :D Just about made qualifying for me regardless of the racing. Quote of the day for me.

        1. Force India tweet that Ferrari smoke machine gave 80’s disco vibe :)

  7. @keithcollantine do you know why the Ferraris are belching up so much smoke at startup from the pits? Or is it just that Ferrari is channelling it out differently as compared to the other teams, and this is just normal?

    1. Breathers are essential parts of any power unit on every car, but this year they’ve been subject to a new rule which says they must vent to the outside and cannot be routed back into the engine.
      You can read it here

  8. Australia was the low point, remember…

    1. @fer-no65
      I don’t get it could you please explain? Is it about hamilton and Mercedes?

      1. @armandf1v
        No, it’s about McLaren and Alonso when he said that “Australia was the low point” after qualifying 11th.

        1. @kingshark
          Thank you, i thought they meant aboutmessing it up with the VSC

      2. I think it’s about Alonso and McLaren @armandf1v

        1. @pratyushp276

          Thank you, i thought it involved mercedes

  9. Mclaren, Honda is faster than you, LOL.

    1. And what a race to make such a statement, the land of the guy who partially paid for its success. LOL

    2. Alonso Honda is faster than you!!! 😆

    3. Alonso…rookie Gasly is faster than you…

  10. Verstappen kept missing out an opportunity. He is exciting driver but not a championship material yet.

    Hartley should get Q3 if he hadn’t made mistake. But I feel that Gasly was punching above his weight.

    Both Mclarens end up behind both Hondas in front of their owner…

    1. @ruliemaulana

      Max got an instant boost of 150 HP that’s why he crashed. That’s what he told formule1.nl

      So it’s probably better to say Max is robbed of a good starting position by a technical issue

      1. @anunaki Interesting. Could it be a mis-deploy party mode? I always think RedBull need to develops a jailbreak software to overclock Renault performance.

        1. not sure what it is, but it’s on all websites now

        2. That’s an interesting way of putting it :D

    2. Gasly is the one to watch.

  11. This is quite a suprise Ferrari leading the way, kimi fastest until it mattered, fun.

    I was fully expecting Mercedes to jump Ferrari in Q3.

    Also McRenault slower than Hondas dayum.

    1. ‘Until it mattered’. Lol. As much as I love the guy, Kimi isn’t the same material sorry. Credit falls where it’s due

      1. @sjzelli
        Of course Kimi isn’t the same material any more😏 a tenth behind one of the drivers best of the generation is really an awful performance for a 38 year old

      2. @sjzelli Yes, Kimi’s the first guy ever to encounter traffic on the last qualy lap. Never happened to Seb or Lewis so he must be slow…oh wait

        Mistakes also happen only to Kimi. Apart from the first Q3 run by Seb here of course. And in Australia where KR beat SV. But apart from that, never!

        Ok, that’s enough sarcasm for one post :)

  12. As I suspected right after seeing the respective cars for the first time, Ferrari clearly made far bigger improvement than Mercedes. Their car is very complex so that it wasn’t perfect right away didn’t surprised me; the massive potential is only starting to unfold.

    1.3 seconds faster than last year.
    Mercedes otoh, is just 0.65 seconds faster.

    1. Longer wheelbase maybe working out with the good aerodynamics

  13. The worrying thing for Mclaren is that Eric Boullier seemed to have no clue as to why they were so slow.

    So much for aiming to fight for podiums!

    I’m fed up of hoping that Mclaren will deliver a good car for Fernando and Stoff.

    1. With Alonso saying Australia should be mclaren’s lowest point, I have faith some incredible gain will be seen on the race.
      Having both Toro Rosso ahead of them in qualifying must have been a fluke, and they are sure to overtake them fast on track. If not, well, It must be Renault giving them a sub par engine. They are for sure benefiting their factory team and Red Bull. Its all a big conspiracy. They should be fighting for podium since they have one of the best chassis in the paddock for the last 2 years, at least!

  14. Verstappen best get his driving together and stop making rookie mistakes because Gasly is looking like Jim Clark out there. Great job Gasly!!

    1. Imagine if RBR dropped max in 2 years for being to old… :p

      But Gasly looks amazing, where does RBR go after that, ditch Ricciardo?

      1. Gasly is older than Max.

  15. It’s beginning to looks like a bad investment for Stroll. He should have bought Force India than injecting money to now a dysfunction team like Williams.

    1. If Stroll raced against Ocon or Perez he would end up like Palmer.

      1. If there was a India-Stroll-Force Team, Indians and Stroll family could still take credit of Ocon/Perez points.

      2. Comparing Stroll to Palmer is doing Palmer a disservice…

        1. Nah, I think they’re there, massa is being underestimated by a lot of people, but at ferrari he was close to raikkonen, his margin on stroll was similar to hulkenberg’s margin on palmer.

  16. Max has told formule1.nl that he got an instant extra 150 HP due to a software issue.

    So ones again it looks like he’s the victim of technical failure on his car.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      7th April 2018, 18:33

      I watched that interview on Channel 4 and he said it caught him out by surprise. He didn’t sound like he was totally blaming it. It seemed from watching the interview like he realised he had made a mistake. Horner also said it looked to be an error from verstappen.

      1. Just watch the interview in Dutch. He can’t really understand what happened. He was talking about torque mapping and that he had 150 HP coming on and off at various moments during qualy. This one caught him by surprise switching it on at the wrong moment

      2. and from everyone else watching too. looked like nothing but driver error, please… lets not go down the American “conspiracy theory” line when a “true version of events” doesn’t suit you.

        1. nobody is talking about conspiracy but you

          End of the day the team and driver know what happens. And Max is normally just saying it how it is.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            7th April 2018, 19:07

            Well, usually the team themselves would have announced it by now if there was a problem with the car and the driver wasn’t to blame. They are usually very quick to respond with these sorts of things. Such as Verstappen’s brake failure here in the race last year. I haven’t seen any confirmation yet. All I’ve seen is what Verstappen says.

          2. exactly, let’s wait what Horner has to say about it.

          3. According to RIC Max had trouble with his engine all weekend. Max said he was mostly missing power that cost him 0,4 sec. He went out to calibrate the engine when he crashed. He wasn’t pushing. Suddenly his rear tyres got more torque and started spinning that’s why he lost the car.

            He has never seen something like it in his career.

  17. my thoughts:
    -Hamilton was slower than Bottas and Ferrari.
    -Ricciardo is missing .2 to Verstappen at the moment and could have been top 3.
    -RedBull will be a match for Ferrari and Mercedes in race pace, I think Ricciardo will be on podium.
    -Ferrari on the pace here to win, but maybe not so in next races.
    -Raikonnen, when he is at his 100% best, he is still only a match for vettel, so .1 of a second here and there.

  18. What happened to the bird? Nobody here cares about him? :(

    1. Don’t ask if your an animal lover. It wasn’t pretty.

  19. Ferrari seem to be electing a pope during every engine fire up! That said, whatever works. Slightly saddened that Kimi didn’t get pole after impressive running (he doesn’t feel like a #2 these last two weekends), but can’t take anything away from Vettel delivering it when it mattered.

    1. Ahaha, indeed, funny about the engine smoking. Yes, raikkonen looks good this year, I wouldn’t be sorry that he missed pole IF he can get a win he waits for since 5 years, on this track he got 5 times 2nd, 3 times 3rd and never won.

  20. Impressive performance by Vettel, eventhough he is still struggling with the cars balance he put it on pole. Well done!

    1. @d0senbrot Vettel said in the post qualifying interview that they have overcome the balance problem he had in Australia, did you not watch the session?

  21. Great laps by Vettel and Gasley.
    Wow! Top4 within 0.3 seconds in Q3.
    Vettel with problems in FP3 and then this.

    Hamilton struggled the whole weekend.
    Bottas didn’t crash. The end.

    Alonso struggles for 12 years….
    Or he is just overrated, overhyped and overpaid.

    1. And vandoorne ofc isn’t doing any better than him, or maybe mclaren is going the way of williams, except employing pay drivers?

  22. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    7th April 2018, 20:17

    Yippee!! :D

  23. Would love to see onboard view from Kimi’s 2nd flying lap in Q3. He blamed the traffic for ruining his lap and sounded very unhappy in team radio after Q3 ended. Did Ferrari manage to mess up Kimi’s weekend yet again?

    1. Ferrari gave both drivers the same position during all Qualifying.
      First Vettel out of the box, then Kimi.

      Kimi had the most advantage of all drivers to be last who passes
      the chequered flag. The only driver 5 seconds in front of him was Ricciardo on a hot lap.
      Two Renaults on an inlap.

      So everything normal for everyone I would say.

      1. @myst According to some sources it was actually Sainz on his inlap who disrupted Kimi’s flying lap. I’d love to see the onboard to see what was going on there.

        1. Well, I think there are less than 15 seconds for the strategy.
          They have to send out both cars at a certain time.
          Each driver gets preference every other race.

          This time around it was Kimi. If Ferrari had send him out earlier,
          Kimi would end up in Vettels dirty air.

          Ferrari had no influence or what so ever on what Renault was doing……..

          1. And by the way. Stop with that constant pathetic victimhood.

            Kimi has his own head, I guess, and can choose when ever he wants to drive…

          2. @myst I agree. It’s just one of those things. He’s not the first driver to have his final run ruined by traffic. Not the 10000th even. Can’t blame Ferrari for a troublesome Renault

          3. @myst I didn’t blame Ferrari for anything. Just asked a question. It might’ve happened, but I have no clue. Was just asking. Chill.

          4. @huhhii
            No offense. I didn’t mean to hurt you.

            I have a present for you and all F1 fans.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcnUXszO6pg

          5. @myst Thanks for sorting that out with the video. Looked like a clean track traffic-wise. Kimi just should’ve gone quicker. Moving on to tomorrow…

          6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            7th April 2018, 23:01

            @huhhii @myst Thanks for the video. I wouldn’t say it was clean because there was a car in the corners that Kimi didn’t know where he’d meet up – it couldn’t easily have been on a corner. I don’t know how much it slowed him down but if he did lift, then he lost pole.

            Not to mention that if you see a slow car in corners while you are at full throttle heading into a part of the track with many corners, you are usually calculating the odds of survival, more than trying to win pole :-)

            Obviously it was still on his mind in the interview and usually he doesn’t talk much. He was unlucky because it seemed like he was the faster driver today.

          7. @freelittlebirds

            If you know a little bit about racing, Kimi clearly lost it in sector one. Apex etc.
            There wasn’t any car close to him.

          8. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxRvrkXIZcY

          9. @myst
            He passed both Renaults and one mid corner.

    2. ofc they did. How could Vettel ever beat Kimi if Ferrari didnt mess it up.

    3. @huhhii
      It’s true that Raikkonen was faster than Vettel during the entire practise sessions and in the first part of qualy, let’s see the sector times they both set in Q3 to understand if Raikkonen made a mistake or faced traffic or whatever… or it was simply Vettel who made “un exploit”.

      It was in Q2 where Vettel did outpace Raikkonen for the first time setting a time of 1:28:341 , 0.164s faster than Raikkonen, and he was fastest in both S1 and S3, sectors characterized with power and traction. In Q3 and in his first attempt Kimi set a time of 1:28:196, 0.1 to the point he was off track in the last corner. At that point, it was obvious that Raikkonen will be the pole man but he wasn’t.

      In fact, Vettel has already set the virtual pole position. Before the last corner mistake, Vettel and Raikkonen times were eventually matched (0.038 in favor of Kimi) and taking into account that Vettel was faster in S3, he only have to repeat his Q2 time of 22:098s and he would have been in pole position with 0.004s difference and that’s exactly what he did in his last attempt in Q3.

      Did Raikkonen made a mistake ? No he didn’t, it was just a matter that he reached his limit and couldn’t extract more of himself/car. In his both Q3 attempts his S1 times were 28:052s and 28:047s and his S3 times were 22:190s and 22:191s, he set the exactly same times in both sectors which is astonishing BTW, he didn’t improve his times unlike Vettel who was constantly improving his times starting from Q2.

      I still think that Raikkonen is doing absolutely a great job being so close in qualy to one of the best pole position specialist (alongside Lewis) of this era. The thing is Vettel has the “magic qualy mode” in his feet rather than in a steering button. When it counts he give it all he has, and know how to throw his car on beyond the curve when it counts (very similar to what he did in Mexico last year). If the pole is in his sight, he smells blood from that point. That is a skill that only the great pole position artists have like Hamilton,Schumacher,Senna and Clark…

      For someone who likes motorsport history, it was very important to get the pole on the day of remembrance of the pole position master, Jim Clark.

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