Lewis Hamilton has claimed a narrow pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. The winner of last year’s race set a blistering lap of 1m32.571s but that’s because he had to and it wasn’t his own teammate pressuring him to do so.
While Lewis took victory in China over the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, it remains to be the big question heading into the Bahrain GP weekend…does Ferrari have the pace to compete with Mercedes? The team have shown that long-run race pace is competitive but on Saturday, they also answered loudly about their qualifying pace as well.
Vettel was just four tenths off the pole position pace set by Hamilton and he split the Mercedes teamamtes as well as led his own teammate, Kimi Raikkonen who qualified 4th just behind Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.
Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas did what Rosberg should be doing when beat by his teammate, he out qualified Felipe Massa to give the duo 5th and 6th on the grid for race day.
A notable performance came from Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg who pulled an aged, B-spec 2014 chassis up into 8th ahead of the all-new Lotus of Grosjean who could only manage 10th for Sunday’s race.
Scuderia Toro Rosso continues to perform well and this time it was Carlos Sainz who bested his 17-year-old teammate, Max Verstappen, to claim 9th on Saturday’s qualifying session.
Ultimately Ferrari will have to convert their front row performance into long-run success but they did it in Malaysia and won. Vettel will need to keep Hamilton in touch if he has any hope of undercutting the 2014 champion and Hamilton will need to keep his foot down and not set slow a slow pace with a teammate as a buffer behind him.
This assumes that Rosberg remains in third place after the first lap but should the German get a dynamic start, all bets are off as he needs to turn his season around immediately.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.832s||1.261s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.450s||1.879s|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.462s||1.891s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.704s||–|
|15||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.103s||–|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.800s||–|