Hamilton claims pole in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday and perhaps that’s no surprise but it is to Nico Rosberg who was sure he had pole covered on his last lap.

Hamilton, having made a mistake on his penultimate attempt, atoned for his error with a sub 1:30 lap. The 3-time champ was in a little hot water after he reversed his car in parc ferme, which you are not allowed to do, but there was no penalty given for his actions.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel thought there my be something to play for when his penultimate lap was just a tenth or two off the Mercedes of Rosberg who was, at the time, on pole. Final laps proved that the Scuderia have a ways to go and it does seem that my hunch of 4-5 tenths off the pace is correct.

The notable performances were certainly Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean who slotted 9th and could be claiming the American team’s legitimate position as a top-10 fighter.

There were serious expectations for McLaren after Jenson Button had gone third fastest during FP3 but it was Fernando Alonso’s stand-in driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, who was the shining star with a 12=place slot on the grid besting his venerable teammate.

Pascal Wehrlein was also a talking point as his Manor car slotted 16th and I have to think had this new debacle of a qualifying system we had, again, he may have done even better.

Qualifying System

The new qualifying system was better than Australia but in the end, it is antithetical to what it was trying to do which was get more cars to run longer and upset the grid as well as create exciting qualifying. Q3 ended with nearly three minutes left on the clock. There were drivers in Q2 who had more to prove but had to park with 5 minutes left in the session.

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m29.493s
2Nico RosbergMercedes1m29.570s0.077s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1m30.012s0.519s
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m30.244s0.751s
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/TAG Heuer1m30.854s1.361s
6Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m31.153s1.660s
7Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m31.155s1.662s
8Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m31.620s2.127s
9Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m31.756s
10Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Ferrari1m31.772s
11Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari1m31.816s
12Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Honda1m31.934s
13Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1m31.945s
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m31.998s
15Daniil KvyatRed Bull/TAG Heuer1m32.241s
16Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes1m32.806s
17Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m32.840s
18Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m32.911s
19Jolyon PalmerRenault1m33.438s
20Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes1m34.190s
21Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1m34.388s
22Kevin MagnussenRenault1m33.181s
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The Captain

So apparently the FIA and Todt are still fighting to keep this format at the meeting tomorrow. I don’t even know what to say anymore. I do not want a revised version! I do not like it even in Q1 & Q2! I have no idea now if for instance the pace of the Manor is really better than the Renault because I have no idea who may or may not have gotten ‘caught out’. Was Vandoorne really faster than Button, or did Button get ‘caught out”‘? Don’t know anymore. This is stupid on every level, and in every session.… Read more »


I have a sense that NBC can’t understand how to handle F1, or anything outside of NASCAR, football, golf, and tennis, all of which provide predictable (and built-in) interludes for commercials.

Or maybe they’re just prepping for the inevitable transition to FOM livestreams, which will probably migrate to the providers most able to deliver them, e.g. Netflix or Amazon.

The Captain

I’d agree you’re right, but I mostly blame the NFL for U.S. broadcasters lack of ability to handle covering continual action sports. There actually are not that many natural breaks in football, BUT the NFL has over the last few decades handed over control of the game to the networks. Most of the breaks now are the networks telling the refs to stop the game. It’s why actually going to a game is becoming increasingly boring. But NBC doesn’t get to use that excuse. They show the Premiere league games like today right before the F1 race and they don”t… Read more »

charlie white

So the idea of this new qualifying method was to “mix up the grid”(Berniespeak: punish the all conquering Mercedes-Benz/AMG runners to mid-field) and enhance the spectacle? And yet we still end up with the Mercs 1 and 2 on the grid with Ferrari 3 and 4 behind them. Leave it to Formula-1 to render the best part of a race weekend into a dull sporting affair. Like I said before on another thread, they will keep working on it until they get it right.


My favorite part was the 7 minute gap with only one car running.


Junipero Mariano

Any educated guesses on how Mercedes and Lewis got the lap record? Was it tighter turns and heavy braking zones that allowed better harvesting? Aero advancements? Pixie dust? For comparison, Wikipedia says Schumacher did a 1:30.252 in the F2004, and Mark Webber did 1:29.527 in the FW27.

It didn’t seem like there were more cars on the track. And the previous regs meant cars were running straight to the end.


They are now running in the dark. The cooler, denser air helps aero and engine performance while the cooler track doesn’t punish the tyres as much over a single lap. Added to that, everyone had access to super soft tyres that they didn’t have in previous years.

Tom Firth

Qualifying was terrible again. It was marginally better than in Australia but it doesn’t work. Need to scrap it!

Herb Dressing

So once again, we spent the majority of the telecast focussed, not on who is the fastest or best prepared, but on who was the slowest and about to get eliminated.

So, here is the conspiracy theory…….fed up with the trickle of prize money, the lower teams approached Bernie for a bigger slice of the pie. Bernie’s hands are tied till 2020, so….” How about we mangle qualifying to get you slower guys some TV time???”


“Q3 ended with nearly three minutes left on the clock.”

Checkered and red lights to an empty track. Wonderful. A very poignant statement on the new quals.