Max Verstappen Takes Season-Opening Bahrain F1 Pole

f1 grand prix of bahrain qualifying
Max Verstappen Takes Season-Opening Bahrain PoleMark Thompson - Getty Images

Max Verstappen led a 1-2 result for Red Bull Racing in today's qualifying for tomorrow's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Verstappen's final time of 1:29.208 puts him a tenth of a second clear of teammate Sergio Perez, but crucially 3/10ths of a second ahead of the leading Ferrari in third. Notably, Ferrari chose not to put its cars out for a final run for pole late in the third round of the qualifying session and instead accepted a second-row lockout. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. will start tomorrow's race with a slight tire advantage.

While Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin impressed in both last weekend's open testing and Friday's free practice sessions, Alonso will start a respectable-but-reasonable fifth. Both he and the two Mercedes drivers, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, were just over 6/10ths of a second behind Verstappen's par-setting time. Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, Esteban Ocon of Alpine, and Nico Hulkenburg of Haas completed the top ten.

The biggest surprises in the sessions were the struggles of both McLaren drivers. The team will start the race 18th and 11th, failing to advance into a Q3 round that featured cars from six teams. Lando Norris almost missed Q2, too, but he beat out American rookie Logan Sargeant with an equal time because he had set his lap earlier in the session.

The 2023 Formula 1 season opener goes green at 10:00 a.m. ET tomorrow. After impressing in all of testing, practice, and qualifying, Verstappen will be the heavy favorite to win for Red Bull.

You Might Also Like