Foto: Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen has impressively secured pole position for the Bahrain GP, the first race of the 2021 F1 season. Verstappen was almost four tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton and is soon putting pressure on Hamilton, who had to be content with a second fastest time.
During the practice sessions we saw Max Verstappen always set the fastest time, but only during qualifying and the race do the masks go off and everyone really goes full throttle. Qualifying was thus the first real moment when we learned the true balance of power between the different teams and F1 cars.
When the light went green, we immediately got several cars on the track and it was Nikita Mazepin who also made a mistake. For the Russian, things only got worse when he spun again at the end of the first qualifying section. Painful for the Russian who, according to many, owes his racing seat mainly to the millions of euros from his father.
Mazepin thus also disrupted the ultimate lap of, among others, Sebastian Vettel. The German made the switch from Ferrari to Aston Martin but had to get out of the car immediately at the end of Q1.
Max Verstappen immediately gave his business card again and set the fastest time in Q1. The big surprise was the Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who was second fastest in the AlphaTauri F1 car, just over a tenth of Verstappen and just a little faster than Lewis Hamilton.
We got spectacle during Q2 because Ferrari surprised by finishing at the top with both cars. Sainz was only 0.001 second faster than teammate Charles Leclerc. Although both Ferraris were on the faster soft tire compound, the step forward has clearly been taken, last year Ferrari often failed to get into Q3 on the soft tire compound.
The entire top ten was within about six tenths of each other, something we haven’t seen in a long time and the precursor to an exciting battle for pole position. A notable dropout in Q2, however, was Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen’s new teammate.
On the first run in Q3, competing for pole position, we saw Lewis Hamilton rush to a provisional best time. The Mercedes was especially fast on the straight but in the much more technical second sector Max Verstappen was faster. The Dutchman thus managed to dive below Hamilton’s time by 0.023 seconds and to claim the provisional pole position.
However, there was a second fast run. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both improved their time and Lewis Hamilton took the provisional pole position from Verstappen. However, the Dutchman put things in order and flew to pole position with three purple intervals.
Verstappen lived up to the high expectations and put pressure on Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton right from the start of the season. So Verstappen on pole, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Verstappen at the party while Lewis Hamilton was clearly disappointed that he is second on the grid.
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30.499s 1:30.318s 1:28.997s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.617s 1:30.085s 1:29.385s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:31.200s 1:30.186s 1:29.586s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1: 30.691s 1: 30.010s 1: 29.678s
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:30.848s 1:30.513s 1:29.809s
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:30.795s 1:30.222s 1:29.927s
7 Lando Norris McLaren 1: 30.902s 1: 30.099s 1: 29.974s
8 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1: 31.653s 1: 30.009s 1: 30.215s
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:30.863s 1:30.595s 1:30.249s
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:31.261s 1:30.624s 1:30.601s
11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1: 31.165s 1: 30.659s
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1: 30.998s 1: 30.708s
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1: 30.607s 1: 31.203s
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo 1:31.547s 1:31.238s
15 George Russell Williams 1:31.316s 1:33.430s
16 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:31.724s
17 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:31.936s
18 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:32.056s
19 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:32.449s
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas 1:33.273s
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