Hamilton claims narrow pole over Vettel in Bahrain

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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.

PosDriverCarTimeGap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m32.571s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1m32.982s0.411s
3Nico RosbergMercedes1m33.129s0.558s
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m33.227s0.656s
5Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m33.381s0.810s
6Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m33.744s1.173s
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m33.832s1.261s
8Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m34.450s1.879s
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault1m34.462s1.891s
10Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes1m34.484s1.913s
11Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m34.704s
12Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1m34.737s
13Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m35.034s
14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m35.039s
15Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault1m35.103s
16Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes1m35.677s
17Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault1m35.800s
18Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari1m38.713s
19Roberto MerhiMarussia/Ferrari1m39.722s
20Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda
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Dave

This is a qualifying to suggest an exciting race, the first in a while.

Junipero Mariano

It seems like the race press conferences are becoming the Ham, Seb, and Nico show. News that Kimi is waiting onFerrari about a contract extension is encouraging.

Paul KieferJr

FP2, then FP3, then quails: Vettel splits the Mercs. A sign of things to come?

gsprings

I am kinda getting a vibe that Ferrari are thinking about replacing kimi,there is some impressive young talent on the grid this year, like those saber drivers

gsprings

I mean sauber, whoops!

MIE

Will Stevens is impressing me at the moment. The only driver you can compare him to is his team-mate (who has a better record in the junior formula, Merhi was third in Renault 3.5 last season at his first attempt, Stevens was sixth after spending three years in the series, although he was fourth the year before). However as team-mates at Manor, Stevens has been consistently faster than Merhi. I do hope that when the team brings their 2015 car that Ferrari allow them to use a 2015 specification power unit.