F1 2020: Verstappen on pole for Bahrain GP, Mercedes manage to be second best

We finally have a true idea of the pecking order in Formula One for 2021 as Max Verstappen has put his Red Bull on pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Mercedes has finally revealed their true pace which is 0.3s behind Red Bull!

By:March 27, 2021 10:03 PM

The 2021 Formula One season’s first qualifying session has concluded and it seems like we have a real battle on our hands. It was Max Verstappen who put his Red Bull on pole for the race with a blistering time. But Mercedes are extremely close behind with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to start from second and third on the grid for Sunday’s race.

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying 1

The first run for all drivers in Q1 found Verstappen setting the pace. But the biggest talking point was young rookie Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri who set an impressive second fastest time of the session. Both the drivers along with Pierre Gasly sat out for the second run.

On their second run in Q1, Mazepin spun his Haas going into turn 1 causing a yellow flag in the first sector which ruined laps for the cars which were following behind. As a result, the bottom five drivers who did not make through to Q2 were Esteban Ocon for Alpine who will start from 16th. Nicolas Latifi in the William will start from 17th on the grid. Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin also got caught out with the yellow flag after Mazepin’s spin and will start from 18th ahead of the two Haas drivers of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin himself on the final row of the grid.

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying 2

All drivers attempted to set their fastest times on the medium tyres hoping to start the race on them. But some of course found it difficult. Mercedes finally showed their true pace in Q2 by setting the fastest time on the medium tyres with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas being the fastest on the medium compounds. Although Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in the Ferraris set the fastest and second fastest times, they were forced to use the soft compounds to make it through to Q3.

Sergio Perez in the Red Bull had his first time deleted for exceeding track limits, then gambled on the medium tyres again. However, it didn’t pay off meaning he will now start from P11 on the grid. Alongside him will be the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi in 12th. The youngest driver on the grid, Tsunoda after a scruffy second run failed to make it through into Q3 and will start from P13. He will share the seventh row of the grid with the oldest driver, Kimi Raikkonen in P14. George Russell in the fastest Williams of the day will start from 15th on the grid.

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying 3

The top ten was officially decided at the last moments on the second run for all drivers. Hamilton put himself on provisional pole ahead of Bottas. It seemed to be history repeating itself. However, Verstappen on his second run pulled out an astonishing 1:28.997 lap to snatch pole from Hamilton at the very last moment. A time which was 0.388 faster than Hamilton. The battle it seems will be a close one between Mercedes and Red Bull this season, a much-welcomed change from a repeat of Mercedes dominance in the sport.

Bottas will start from third with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in fourth. Gasly will start fifth alongside the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo in P6. His teammate Lando Norris will start behind him from seventh while Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll will conclude the top ten order on the grid.

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