Lewis Hamilton starts from the pole position grid slot in tomorrows Bahrain Grand Prix from Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel, who splits the two Mercedes drivers with Nico Rosberg in third.
Whilst the battle for pole was close, the start of Qualifying saw the regular drop outs including both Manors and one of the McLarens. Jenson Button stopped out on track with what looked like similar issues to the ones he encountered in Practice yesterday. Pastor Maldonado dropped out as well finishing the session in 16th. He apparently ran into engine issues according to the team.
Daniil Kvyat meanwhile dropped out, after dropping his car off the circuit in Practice Three. He didn’t get any Qualifying runs in, which meant that he was blind going into this session. The wind direction also looked to hamper his pace, which means he starts from 17th tomorrow.
In the second part of Qualifying we saw Verstappen, Alonso, Ericsson, Nasr, and Perez drop out, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg being the surprise entrant to Q3. Fernando Alonso meanwhile managed to take part in his first Q2 of the year, starting from 14th tomorrow ahead of the Toro Rosso of Verstappen. There was some tension in the closing stages when Perez seemed to be threatening Sainz’s P10 time, however he just missed out by a couple of tenths and allowed the Toro Rosso driver to progress.
Elsewhere up front we saw a statement of intent from Hamilton, a 1:33.6 – smashing Rosberg’s time by a considerable margin. That later translated in the final part of Qualifying, when the Mercedes driver was able to go five tenths quicker than his teammate at the chequered flag, with Vettel just a tenth of a second behind in the Ferrari.
Raikkonen starts from fourth ahead of both Williams drivers who just lacked pace. Riccardo ended up 7th fastest, with Hulkenberg, Sainz, and Grosjean rounding out the top ten. Lotus fancying themselves a top ten finish tomorrow, which of course we saw last weekend in China with Romain.
But the big story is Ferrari splitting the two Mercedes drivers, Rosberg just didn’t have an answer for Hamilton’s pace, which could translate in the race tomorrow when we expect to see a lot of inter-team battles take place and the undercut for track position play a key part in winning the race.