BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 01, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403010599 // Usage for editorial use only //

F1: Max Verstappen takes pole in Bahrain

Max Verstappen has taken pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix!

The Dutch driver has the 33rd pole of his career.

He will start ahead of Charles Leclerc and George Russell.


Ferrari and Alpine were the first to hit the track and were on the yellow-striped medium tyre for a banker lap. Carlos Sainz set an early benchmark following a first-place finish in FP3, His teammate followed behind.

With 12 minutes remaining, that usual traffic jam in the pitlane emerged with every driver wanting to not just be out there but also have a decent gap in front and behind.

After everyone’s first laps, Zhou Guanyu, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly were in trouble.

In the final hot laps, Sainz set a very quick time to go to first place and stayed in the garage as the others crossed the line. Lance Stroll finished Q1 with style and jumped up to second ahead of Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton could only reach 10th place but was comfortably above the drop zone.

As Q1 came to an end, all eyes were on a struggling Alpine team that could not seem to find any pace over a single lap, and that was proved by Gasly in last place, behind teammate Ocon.

OUT IN Q1: 20th: Gasly, 19th: Esteban Ocon, 18th: Logan Sargent, 17th: Zhou Guanyu, 16th: Valtteri Bottas


Nico Hulkenberg was the first to set a lap time and was two-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Magnussen. The two McLarens were behind and sat quicker times than the Haas’; Lando Norris going top of the timesheets early on. World Champion Verstappen put half a second between himself and teammate Sergio Perez in second place.

Track limits continued to bother drivers, as Magnussen had his lap time deleted after an infringement at turn seven. After everybody had set a lap, Magnussen, Alex Albon, Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg were in danger.

In the final hot laps of Q2, Albon pushed himself up to eighth but was quickly replaced by Stroll. Both Mercedes sat in the bottom five as they were on their laps as Charles Leclerc went to first place ahead of Verstappen.

In a risk that paid off, Hamilton and Russell made it into Q3. Hulkenberg set a very respectable lap to get into sixth place. Leclerc led Verstappen.

OUT IN Q2: 15th: Magnussen, 14th: Ricciardo, 13th: Albon, 12th: Stroll 11th: Tsunoda


The shootout for pole position began and it couldn’t have felt closer.

Norris was the first to set a lap time and sat ahead of Hulkenberg. The two Mercedes were on their laps in unison, and provisionally sat third and seventh. There was a hundredth of a second between Verstappen in first place, and Leclerc behind him in second. Russell nearly lost the rear of his W15 at turn six but kept it on track.

After everyone’s first lap, Perez could only set a time good enough for sixth place, 0.6s off his teammate. Fernando Alonso was out of sync with everyone else and set his opening lap whilst the others were in the garage. After a poor first sector, his second was the quickest of everyone and set him up to go third on the timesheet.

Oscar Piastri was the first to set a second hot lap but could only reach seventh, his teammate Norris was sixth. Russell set a purple final sector to reach third but teammate Hamilton was only eighth. Verstappen set a blinder of a lap to extend his lead in first, with Perez in fifth.

Final top 10:

  1. Verstappen
  2. Leclerc
  3. Russell
  4. Sainz
  5. Perez
  6. Alonso
  7. Norris
  8. Piastri
  9. Hamilton
  10. Hulkenberg

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