Thursday, 26 April, 2018

Sebastian Vettel on pole for Bahrain GP, Lewis Hamilton ninth

Stoffel Vandoorne drives in Bahrain Credit Mc Laren Media Centre
Isaac Mcdaniel | 08 April, 2018, 01:22

Sebastian Vettel heads into the Bahrain Grand Prix fresh from having won Formula One's Australian season opener, but the German's hopes of racing to an unprecedented fourth win at the Sakhir circuit could well depend on Ferrari making a big step up.

It was feared he would be punished for an unsafe release - because his front right wheel was not attached properly - and given a grid penalty, but instead Ferrari were fined €5,000 (RM23,767).

Hamilton came to Bahrain knowing he was in for a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, so he needed to be on his game - with a ideal vehicle - to minimise the damage and give himself the best chance in the race.

"First run in Q3, I was very happy and then I tossed it away in the last corner".

Verstappen then ran out of sync with the other drivers - doing more laps at the start of the session to get a feel for the auto, which meant the track would have been in better condition for him when he did his fast lap later in the session than others.

That saw him finish one hundredth of a second clear of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who will be looking to build on victory at the opening race of the 2018 season in Melbourne. Vettel took his most recent win in the island kingdom last year for Ferrari, breaking Mercedes' three-year stranglehold on the event. "The auto was excellent all weekend so far". But he will start from ninth on Sunday after incurring a grid penalty for an unauthorized gearbox change on his Mercedes.

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Daniel Ricciardo raised a few eyebrows setting the fastest time of the first practice session in Bahrain on Friday while Mercedes and Ferrari battled it out for the next four places. Lewis Hamilton failed to hook up a clean lap and was left 0.262s shy of Vettel's pole position time as a result.

But he could only manage fourth, failing to improve his time on his final lap and leapfrogged by Bottas. I meant it. On a track like Bahrain, with a very abrasive surface, and lots of heat, we struggled. Gasly (Toro Rosso), 6.

"The feeling was pretty much the same everywhere, but in certain zones of the track, we want to do better".

Nico Hulkenberg along with Carlos Sainz place Renault best-of-the-rest with all the eighth and seventh quickest situations.

Toro Rosso's French driver Pierre Gasly did make the final session and will line up fifth in a stunning performance for his Honda-powered team.

Sadly, Williams were also-rans in qualifying, with Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll starting tomorrow's race in 18th and 20th.

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