Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

Leclerc beats Vettel to take first pole position

2019 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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Charles Leclerc took his first Formula 1 pole position in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver set a new track record as he beat team mate Vettel to pole by almost three-tenths of a second, leading every stage of qualifying on the way. The two red cars relegated the Mercedes pair to the second row of the grid.

Q1

Having led final practice two hours earlier, Leclerc returned to the top of the times in Q1 with a best effort of 1’28.495 which saw him comfortably through to Q2. Vettel joined him at the top of the times, two-tenths of a second slower having run wide on his effort.

The Mercedes pair also easily secured their progress to Q2. Max Verstappen and Kevin Magnussen also decided against running again and made it through. Learning their lesson from Melbourne, Red Bull sent Pierre Gasly out for another run and he made the cut, though by just one-tenth of a second.

A superb last effort from Lando Norris lifted him up to fourth place. His first attempt at a time was spoiled when he caught a dawdling Romain Grosjean at the final corner, an incident the stewards are investigating.

The two Williams drivers never looked like to make the cut. George Russell was a yawning 1.5 seconds behind the next-slowest driver, Lance Stroll, who dropped out in Q1 for the second race in a row.

They were joined by Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi, the latter knocked out after his team mate scraped into Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’30.026
17Nico HulkenbergRenault1’30.034
18Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’30.217
19George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’31.759
20Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’31.799

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Q2

Leclerc stayed ahead with his first run in Q2 but a frustrated Vettel caught traffic on his first effort and could only manage the sixth-fastest time. “That was the worst spot ever” he complained before heading out for a second run.

Daniil Kvyat didn’t make the cut with his first run and didn’t return to the track for another effort, sealing his elimination. His team mate Alexander Albon improved on his final run but was one of three drivers who missed out on a place in Q3 by less than six-hundredths of a second. The others were Ricciardo and his replacement Gasly, who again failed to accompany Max Verstappen into Q3, after suffering traction problems.

For the second session in a row Kimi Raikkonen narrowly avoided being eliminated, and took his Alfa Romeo into Q3. Norris repeated his feat of reaching Q3 in Australia, and this time he was joined by McLaren team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Daniel RicciardoRenault1’29.488
12Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’29.513
13Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’29.526
14Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’29.756
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’29.854

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Q3

Having used an extra set of soft tyres in Q2, Vettel sat our the first part of Q3 while his rivals took to the track.

Mercedes moved within range of the Ferraris on their first runs, Hamilton setting a best of 1’28.190. But Leclerc had more in reserve, setting a 1’27.958 to head the times.

Vettel couldn’t match that on his sole run of Q2. He lost time in the middle part of the lap as he struggled for rear grip, and only managed to pip Hamilton for second place by 0.03s. Hamilton was unable to improve on his final run, and Valtteri Bottas took fourth.

Verstappen got within half a second of the Mercedes drivers on his final run, pushing Magnussen down to sixth place by five-thousandths of a second. A fine effort by Sainz put his McLaren seventh on the grid, within a tenth of a second of Leclerc.

Top ten in Q3

1Charles LeclercFerrari1’27.866
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’28.160
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’28.190
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’28.256
5Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’28.752
6Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’28.757
7Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’28.813
8Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’29.015
9Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’29.022
10Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’29.043

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2019 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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86 comments on “Leclerc beats Vettel to take first pole position”

  1. 3 TENTHS. Madman.

    1. Great qualifying session for Leclerc, congratulations to him… I sure hope Ferrari lets him race!

    2. When was the last time a midfield team (i. e., non top 3) was within a second of pole? I might be wrong, but I think it hasn’t happened in years.

      1. Checking it now, the last non-top-3 within a second, can already say that Ericsson came very close to it in Brazil last year.

        1. Hulkenberg was within inches of a just under a second in Mexico last year.

          Last one to be within a second is Magnussen in Germany last year…0.988. But yeah, the huge gaps are a long running thing by now.

  2. I’m starting to get a bit worried about Gasly and his chances to remain at the energy drinks company’s main team in the long-term. He should be able to reach Q3 with that car as well as Max.

    1. @jerejj

      Albon is already quicker than Gasly. Red Bull won’t shy away from a mid season demotion to Gasly if he doesn’t buck up. Would be hilarious if both Gasly and Kvyat are teammates.. kind of like the Red bull rejects squad.

      Just goes to show how bad Hartley was last year.. Gasly really did look better than he was actually performing on plenty of occasions.

      1. Just goes to show how bad Hartley was last year.. Gasly really did look better than he was actually performing on plenty of occasions.

        @todfod – I didn’t quite think of it that way until I read your comment, good point.

      2. Hartley made Gasly look better for sure, but the same way Verstapen make him look worse now. I doubt Albon would be any closer. Gasly had a very decent Bahrain race last year and I don’t think Toro Rosso car last year was far better than this year, I think Red Bull is worse, and numbers show that, Haas and Mclaren are very close to Verstapen.

      3. Gasly time last year in Toro Rosso was almost 0.2s faster than this year. And the best Red Bull time last year by Riccardo was around 0.4s faster than Verstapen today. The major problem is Red Bull. They lost almost half a second, and the other teams managed to be at the same speed or faster.

        1. @miani
          Really unlike Red bull to not find enough performance here. Toro Rosso has looked a whole lot closer to them this weekend. Only one Honda powered car in Q3 this weekend. Maybe they should take a break from singing constant praise on Honda and figure out whether they’re actually in a stro her place with Honda than they were with Renault.

          1. *stronger place

          2. “Toro Rosso has looked a whole lot closer to them this weekend.” – Really not. RB lost 0.354s (RIC’18 vs VER’19), while TR lost 0.323s (Q2 GAS’18 vs Q2 ALB’19). That’s almost the exact same delta.
            And when talking q-position, it is TR who took a big step down: 5th (RIC’18) and 6th (GAS’18) vs 5th (VER’19) and 12th (ALB’19).

          3. @todfod So instead of wasting time constantly complimenting Honda, not that they are, nor that they are incapable of running their program and saying something nice in a reporters mic at the same time, rather they should use their time constructively by deciding if they should regret a move that has already happened and cannot be reversed even if they wanted to, and a move that they happily made? Don’t think I’ve read anything sillier from you.

          4. @robbie

            rather they should use their time constructively by deciding if they should regret a move that has already happened and cannot be reversed even if they wanted to

            No. Rather they just put a lid on the PR BS and avoid cute tweets like “Now we can fight” . Their time would be better spent figuring out how to work with Honda better instead of praising them.

            Don’t think I’ve read anything sillier from you.

            Rich coming from you.

      4. @todfod ”kind of like the Red bull rejects squad.”
        – Well, that already is the case with the current STR line-up of Kvyat-Albon.

      5. Yet he was classified here as 8th in the driver rankings, ahead of Kimi, OCO, BOT, HUL, SAI, MAG.

    2. @jerejj @todfod Wow, one race and two qualifiers and Gasly is already toast because he should be able to do what Max is doing. I guess F1 is easy to you then?

      You guys allow no room for nuances of each race? Or even if each session? New drivers gelling with their crews? Teams learning the new tires? Learning the new cars with their new wings? Some tracks favouring some cars or some drivers better? A hundred other variables? No…already you’ve got it all figured out.

      1. @robbie

        One race and 2 qualifiers later he’s been not only beaten by Max but been out qualified and out raced by drivers in slower cars including not so covered drivers in the Red bull rejects team. He isn’t toast yet.. But he’s been thrown in the toaster for now.

        You guys allow no room for nuances of each race? Or even if each session? New drivers gelling with their crews? Teams learning the new tires? Learning the new cars with their new wings? Some tracks favouring some cars or some drivers better? A hundred other variables? No…already you’ve got it all figured out.

        You’ve got a an encyclopedia on excuses for f1 drivers but a real knack for skipping the obvious. Max won his first race for Red bull… So I don’t see how the adjustment period excuse is really all that valid. The really good drives don’t need a litany of excuses. For the ones that do, should probably come to you for advice.

        1. @todfod What you are calling ‘excuses’ is to me the reality of F1. And Max winning his first race with RBR was an anomaly wouldn’t you say? Max is mega for one thing, and otherwise look at all first time drives by drivers in their first races with their new teams and I’m sure you’d agree the vast majority by a long shot do not win their first race. Gimme a break. I really can’t believe you’ve gone down this path. You must think F1 is a cakewalk. Why do you watch?

          1. @robbie

            What you are calling ‘excuses’ is to me the reality of F1

            Pfft.. don’t make me laugh dude. Look at how Norris is up to speed already.. as well as Albon. It didn’t take Ocon any time to get up to speed either did it? What about Sainz? He switched teams as well… how come he put the car on P6? Leclerc didn’t need adjustment time did he? He’s looked better than his 4 time WDC teammate right out of the box? So what on earth are you talking about?

            What reality are you talking about exactly? The alternate universe you live in?

            Man.. I’ve never seen anyone make more excuses for drivers and lack of performance than you do. It’s like you have a readymade list of nonsense that you believe is he letter of the law .. which you spew constantly everywhere. Sometimes seeing what’s in front of your eyes is the truth dude.

          2. @todfod It seems you don’t realize that ‘now we can fight’ was originally something Alonso said last year after the Australian GP, now with a Renault Pu instead of the Honda. The following race, Bahrain of 2018, Gasly finished fourth, and said on the radio after the race as a joke, ‘Now we can fight.’ He admitted after the race it was a joke and just a way of supporting Honda for him having gotten them their best finish since their return in the hybrid era, after FA implying relief to not have the Honda anymore.

            As I said, you seem to think that just because others have done whatever they have that means that Gasly should be having exactly the same experience, with no consideration for the fact that he is his own person experiencing his days in the other RBR car, along with a hundred variables. He is not Albon nor Ocon nor Norris nor Sainz. You seem willing to judge harshly over a very small window of time and I think that’s wrong. You’ve already decided, like it is written in stone, that Gasly is forever confined to lagging behind and others similarly to only progress, and yeah, that’s silly, and unfair. You don’t want to hear reasons, or better put, since you don’t seem to like Gasly, anything said in defence of him is excuse making. That’s more on you than is on Gasly.

  3. Mustache slowed him down…

    1. Wait till the lad grows a proper, Mansell-like ‘tache, it will improve his downforce to no end, he’ll be untouchable

      1. Love that comment. I always knew instinctively that it was Mansell’s porn mustache that gave him the edge.

  4. Very predictable result, Leclerc is such a huge talent. This season will be a time travel experience back to 2014 for Vettel fans.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      30th March 2019, 16:27

      I would wait a while before thinking that will happen. Bottas was really close to Hamilton in his first race against him. The next race wasn’t great, but then he took pole in Bahrain. And Mercedes didn’t have as bigger advantage over Ferrari as the other way round today. Also, nobody rated Bottas anything like as high as Leclerc. So I would leave it many more races before thinking Vettel is starting to struggle.

    2. Vettel can beat teammates that are over their prime like Webber and Raikkonen. Whenever he’s up against a tier 1 driver like Ricciardo and now Leclerc, he gets exposed.

      Last year, when his Ferrari was better than the Merc, he still couldn’t beat his tier 1 competition (HAM). I think it’s fair to say Vettel is a tier 2 driver at best who’s been very lucky to drive for RedBull when the team was utterly dominant.

      1. Hilarious viewpoint. You sound like a woman scorned.

        1. Ha!! Pot – kettle – Black?

      2. I’m no fan of Vettel but calling him a “tier 2” driver is a bit OTT. No tier 2 driver wins 4 WDCs, no matter the circumstances. He isn’t as good as Hamilton but that could be said of 99.99% of all drivers to ever race in f1 so that hardly makes him “tier 2”.
        If he doesn’t beat Leclerc then serious question need to be asked but tier 2? Nah.

        1. Well.. If you would put Hamilton and Verstappen in tier 1.. Then there’s no way in hell that Vettel belongs in that same tier. Maybe we can put Vettel in tier 1.5 along with Ricciardo and Leclerc (for now)

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            31st March 2019, 8:52

            I would wait some time before saying Leclerc is better or as good as Vettel. In Botats’t first season against Hamilton, he was very close in the first race, got pole in bahrain and won in Russia. All in the first few races. He did have a bad race in china admittedly though. He got nowhere near the level of praise Leclerc seems to be getting for these good results though and i didn’t see anyone suggesting he was even possible in the same league as Hamilton. There has been 1 race and 2 qualifying positions this year. Only 1 qualifying has Leclerc actually beaten Vettel so far. And it may just be a bad weekend for Vettel. Give it much longer before suggesting Leclerc is the same level driver as Leclerc. Leclerc also farely recently looked to be comfortably beaten my Ericsson during qualifying in Brazil. Either showing Ericsson was seriously underrated or Leclerc has a major weakness in the wet. And that session wasn’t the only time that was apparent.

            Leclerc certainly did impress yesterday, but I think Vettel will come back pretty soon and likely still beat him this season.

          2. How can VER be put in tier 1, while at the same time RIC, who beat him 3 times out of three in a row, is put in tier 1.5?
            How can any driver be put in tier 1, or 1.5 for that matter, if he makes 20-30 mistakes, some small, some outright blunders, in a single season?

          3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            31st March 2019, 20:54

            @todfod
            I was saying over the season… I wasn’t surprised by Leclercs pace this race as he looked much more comfortable than Vettel throughout the weekend. But over the whole season? Still way too early to judge that. Remember that Bottas would have been leading the championship after Baku last year without that puncture. And we didn’t start saying he was in or even close the same league as Hamilton.

            This was 1 race weekend out of 2 where he was obviously better. Not saying he won’t be better, but we need to wait some time before saying he is at Vettel’s level. when things are spread out, we don’t know if Leclerc would have some awful races. Ericcson beat him by miles in Germany and beat him in all other wet sessions. I still think that Vettel will beat him over the season, but that could well not continue.

          4. @thegianthogweed

            I think you’re looking way too much in to whether Leclerc will be able to sustain a level of high performance throughout the season and whether he can do this race in race out. But the point you completely seem to be missing is that Vettel cannot maintain form over an entire season either. In fact Vettel has actually proven that he cannot. His form is inconsistent and he looks way more amateurish than Leclerc does. When was the last time Vettel had a strong and consistent season? 2015?

            I can understand if Leclerc was going up aganist Hamilton as a teammate. You’d have to really question whether Leclerc could maintain a high enough form for 21 races to come out on top… But Vettel doesn’t really set the bar that high.

    3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      30th March 2019, 16:58

      Leclerc is a great talent to be sure but it is going to be interesting in the start. He has two multi-time world champions in P2 and P3 who know their stuff.

  5. Missing Alonso in such tight midfield, where everything is on driver’s skill

  6. Barely noticed him all weekend, but what a stellar job by Raikkonen.

    Obviously very impressive performance from Leclerc and quite the opposite from Gasly. Pierre has to step up his game and the best thing he can do is start overtaking some people tomorrow.

    1. @me4me – yeah, Kimi’s taking that Alfa Romeo places, isn’t he? Good to see him in a carefree environment, just driving.

  7. That looked ominous for Vettel. The key question for me this year was how well Leclerc could do in qualifying versus Vettel, because his race qualities are already evident. Putting in such a gap at the second GP of the season, without it looking that exceptional, definitely suggests this will be a difficult season for Seb. It was also important for Leclerc to stake a claim early on before being demoted to second driver status (perhaps for the rest of his Ferrari career, as we’ve seen in the past). It’s always the case, always, that the best drivers hit the ground early and cause immediate problems for their senior team mate. Not to say Vettel can’t respond of course. But at least we should have a battle in the two top teams this season, whatever their pace is vis-à-vis each other (the same as the last two seasons I think: oscillating back and forth over the season).

    1. It might be Vettel’s last season in F1. He’s getting exposed, badly.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        30th March 2019, 16:35

        He has been clearly beaten in just 1 session this season that actually matters. Far to soon to say that. Bottas outqualified Hamilton in Bahrain in his first season. Bottas was rated nothing like as high as Leclerc, and Hamilton was rated higher than Vettel. And I didn’t see anyone saying it would be Hamilton’s last season. 1 qualifying session or even one weekend of Leclerc beating Vettel is a bit much. Ericsson looked better than him 3 or 4 times. Give it more time.

        I’m not suggesting that he won’t be better in time, but he looked very weak in the wet and I don’t think he will beat Vettel this season. But it looks like it will be closer than with Kimi. Certainly.

        1. @thegianthogweed, I do agree that there are some who seem to be a bit too eager to write Vettel off based on a single qualifying session or a single race result.

          Given the reputation that Leclerc has, it would be rather more surprising if there were not occasions when he was capable of beating Vettel – indeed, the whole point of Ferrari hiring Leclerc was because they expected him to be capable of doing that.

          As you note, over the years there have been cases when highly rated WDC drivers would still have races where they were beaten by their team mates, such as Häkkinen walking into McLaren as a relatively inexperienced driver and outqualifying Senna in his very first race for McLaren.

          It is also a fair point to note that, in races with more mixed weather conditions, Leclerc’s performances were weaker compared to the more experienced drivers around him. That is an area where I would expect him to improve with increasing experience, and there are likely to be some areas of his performance where the improvement with experience is likely to be more gradual.

          Bearing that in mind, we really should be waiting to see what the overall balance of performance is over the season between Leclerc and Vettel, rather than making snap judgements on a single instance (and, even then, we’ve seen how there can be a debate over how representative those results are).

      2. @jeffreyj I don’t know what it is… but I have this very strong sneaking feeling that both VET and HAM will retire at the end of this season.

        1. Not sure about HAM. Not that I can’t see him walking away from F1, but it would really leave Mercedes in the lurch if they haven’t got a highly talented replacement for him.

          1. @david-br

            They’d poach Max Verstappen. I’m pretty sure he’s Lewis’ planned replacement for the future. I just don’t see Red Bull being the team to beat… so Max would leave in a heartbeat.

          2. Good point.

      3. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
        30th March 2019, 16:57

        Relax man, a qualifying session means nothing. Points are awarded in the race.

      4. Wow. Some people are really getting on Vettels case huh. Bit early to declare Get finished isn’t it? Lorry lordy

    2. It makes you wonder how Vettel will respond to this challenge. By driving better, calmer, smoother like a polished veteran driver and team leader? Or more wild mistakes and temper tantrums?

      Vettel has talent. His temperament gets the better of him at times and especially when under pressure.

      1. I agree, he has the talent, but he hasn’t matured as much as Hamilton who has now attained an almost zen like ability to be calm or aggressive at precisely the right moment. Monza last year was a case in point. I expect (hope for) a long season contested by Ferrari and Mercedes, with Verstappen thrown in at some races, with the championship coming down to how they all deal with pressure situations.

        1. @david-br – very good point, to a very good question by @bullmello

          I’d add last year’s Russian GP as another example for Hamilton – instead of getting angry and flustered, he instead executed a rapier-like overtake.

          1. @phylyp That was a fascinating dynamic, Vettel blocked Hamilton aggressively and quite dangerously, but then seemed to lose his nerve, maybe worried about a penalty, and made little attempt to stop him going past when Hamilton unexpectedly appeared (how he held traction going outside round the long curve, I’ve no idea). An earlier Seb might have cut back in to block Hamilton again, which he probably should have done. So it’s a bit like the way he kept spinning after contacts last season, it’s like he’s lost confidence in close-racing situations, kind of overcompensating for his own aggression. Wonder whether he’s worked on that over the winter?

          2. So it’s a bit like the way he kept spinning after contacts last season, it’s like he’s lost confidence in close-racing situations, kind of overcompensating for his own aggression. Wonder whether he’s worked on that over the winter?

            @david-br – agree, I hope Vettel has addressed that. As a Vettel fan, last year has not been kind!

    3. Vettel had one run in Q3; if he had a second he might have pipped Leclerc. Why are you all so anti Vettel? Some F1 fans are the worst.

      1. @gufdamm Can’t tell very well from the indents, but I guess that’s for me. I’m not anti-Vettel (any more). I’m a bit anti-Ferrari because I don’t like the way they’ve operated a lot of the time. So this year I’m waiting to see if they’ll let Vettel and Leclerc race, because if they do it could be brilliant entertainment. Or it could be all engineered ‘the Schumacher way’. I literally stopped following Formula 1 during those years. In terms of actual racing style, I’m more a Hamilton and Verstappen fan, but I think Leclerc emerging as a top driver will be excellent for the future of the sport (kind of a foil to Verstappen).

      2. It makes me wonder how many commenters actually watched the entire qualy, and understood Vettel’s situation with tires? As Vettel mentioned after the session, and was clear from his lap, he took the second sector gingerly since it was his only bite at the apple. I don’t take this result as a demonstration of raw pace.

        1. I maintain that Leclerc is in a bit of a can-do-no-wrong situation this season, and hence why he has said he isn’t feeling much pressure. If he does well it’s a bonus and if he struggles at times well he’s the relative rookie on the team to the engrained multi WDC Vettel.

          I’ll be watching to see if that pressure mounts if indeed Leclerc rattles SV and presumably LH’s cages this season with some good points hauls. CL has yet to prove he can handle the pressure of fighting for a WDC over a season, and SV and LH (odds are) are going to have something to say about that on track. That’s why they run all the races to determine the big trophy winners, and anything can happen and likely will. One race at a time.

  8. LeClerc can actually win the title if the car is dominant for half the season and he gets behind Seb’s skin.

  9. 2 races. It just took 2 races for Charles Leclerc to be on pole with Ferrari. And that’s taking into consideration he has a 4 time champion in the other red car, and living up to the huge expectations on his shoulders

  10. Maybe vettel will soon be on the receiving end of soft reasonable team orders

    1. From what Binotto has said, I think that’ll be true for whoever is behind.

      “Charles is allowed to go as fast as he can. He’s allowed to go for pole, he’s allowed to stay ahead. We are not stopping him doing that,” said Binotto.

      “I think it is important that our two drivers are not fighting and taking any risks battling together.”

      “But no doubt, if on the first lap Charles is ahead he will stay. If at the end of the race he is ahead he will stay ahead.”

      Basically, what he has been saying is that they’re not going to tell either of them to move aside for the other. My guess is that if strategy is different, or one has damage to the car, exceptions will be made. But if both cars are healthy and lapping at the same pace, it’ll be up to the driver to pass with golden rule firmly in place (don’t hit your teammate).

    2. I think Australia showed that Ferrari will be backing Vettel
      So I’m expecting Charles to get ‘Kimi strategies’

  11. Vet fans were dreading this day as soon as Leclerc was announced he has had it so easy around 7 to 8 seasons against poor teammates way older than him.

  12. Vet fans were dreading this day as soon as Leclerc was announced he has had it so easy around 7 to 8 seasons against poor teammates way older than him.

  13. @keithcollantine

    A fine effort by Sainz put his McLaren seventh on the grid, within a tenth of a second of Leclerc.

    u full second!

  14. I just hope Charles got a good start tomorrow, Bahrain first lap tend to be a bit chaotic.

  15. Awesome effort by Leclerc…a well deserved pole! I was lucky enough to see his 2017 GP2 masterclass (14th to 1st) in person, so I have no doubt that he can finish the job and get win #1 tomorrow. He clearly loves this track.

    Plus look how close the Q3 gaps were:
    2nd to 4th: .096 sec
    5th to 7th: .061
    8th to 10th: .028

    Throw in a Honey Badger, a Hulk, and a Torpedo charging in from the back and tomorrow could/should be spectacular!

    1. @nerrticus
      I have witnessed Markelov from 14th to 1st at MONACO (for christ’s sake), and Giovinazzi from dead last to 1st at Baku.
      What’s your point?

      1. @ioannisk I assume @nerrticus ‘s point is that Leclerc is someone who can “finish the job”. Markelov might be able to do it as well, but as he’s not starting from pole (or any other grid position) this race, his mission would be rather more difficult.

      2. what happened to Markelov, by the way? Always found him very talented, but I havent seen him in F2 this season. Did he get dropped?

        1. @gechichan I think he is Renault’s backup/test driver now. Personally I rate him higher than the guys that got promoted last year from F2, Albon, Russell and Norris. Especially the latter, who is waaaay too overrated.
          He is Brit though, I can understand the (blind) hype.

  16. Wow, a McLaren and Haas pretty much dead even with RBR Honda.
    Max can’t be happy – .8 seconds down is huge.
    Expectations supposedly may not be high but it will be interesting to see how long before Max implodes if
    B teams and Renault power takes the fight to them.

    1. When Vettel gets shown the door at the end of this season, or if Hamilton decides to retire from F1, Verstappen has to make a move to get a real chance at a championship. It’s taking too long now for RedBull to get back to the top. Verstappen shouldn’t wait until after 2021.

      1. Nowhere for him to go really. Merc have Ocon. & will probably be on the wane. Ferrari will probably have a new younger WDC. Sideways or backwards seem the only options.

        1. Wow. Already have it all figured out. Never mind that Max seemed calm, cool, and collected and simply put it down to them struggling on the softer tires at this particular venue. And he still managed best if the rest for quali. The medium tires might be much better for them in the race. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Max knows they are not fighting for the WCC and WDC this year. So far he has been doing just as well as when he had a Renault Pu, and has stayed ahead of the Renault runners. Why would he lose his cool in this learning and growing year which is year one for them with Honda and which is already showing Honda’s best results in years, especially after all their struggles? It’s just nose to the grindstone and onward and upward for them.

        2. @jjohn

          Toto isn’t silly.. He’ll drop Ocon in a heartbeat if he can sign Verstappen.

  17. Wow ..you cant beat age can you.

  18. Cant wait for the start of this race. I think Vettel will muscle his way past Leclerc, or try to just to put him back in his place a bit. Finally someone else in the mix with Lewis and Seb! Awesome!

  19. Now he have game! I wanna see VET responding to that threat and I really hope it unleashes his best temper.

  20. Mclaren 0.1 behind red bull tells me that the Honda is still the worst of the 4 engines in f1.

    1. Not that in these early days there is much to come yet, and RBR have struggled this weekend on the reds?

      So far Honda has a third place podium race finish in race one, ahead of two Ferraris, and are best of the rest behind only the mighty Mercs and Ferraris after Bahrain quali. Mac .1 behind RBR tells me that is just what happened at one particular qualifying session. Just as what happened to Ferrari in Australia is just what happened at that one race, with a completely different outlook so far this weekend.

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