Lewis Hamilton continued his perfect score card of pole positions this season, setting the fastest time in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel was the closest competitor and will start from second place, followed by Rosberg and Raikkonen.
Kimi Raikkonen was the first in Q1 to start a flying lap, immediately locking up the front wheels under braking into the first corner. The Finn went out for a banker lap on the medium tyres, ending up with an uncompetitive lap. However, with windy conditions influencing car performance may have made it a useful outing nonetheless.
With the soft tyre worth around 1.8s over the medium, the harder tyre was not seen again in qualifying. Grosjean, Sainz, Verstappen and Maldonado all did runs on the medium tyres as well, but none of them managed to qualify with their initial laps.
Verstappen notably only just made it through to Q1 in the dying seconds, setting the 14th fastest time on new soft tyres. Hamilton meanwhile had set the fastest time in Q1, faster than Rosberg and both Ferrari drivers.
As the time ran out, Maldonado was eliminated, along with Kvyat, Stevens, Merhi and Button, the latter not having set a time. This also means that Alonso got through, the first time a McLaren Honda managed to progress into the second part of qualifying.
The beginning of Q2 was dominated by silence as people waited to set their laps, trying to minimize the use of the soft tyres while looking ahead at the race. After 3 minutes of quietness, the Mercedes drivers were among the first to go out. Hamilton again proved fastest.
5 minutes later, Ferrari joined the action with Raikkonen going second fastest, ahead of Massa, Vettel and then Rosberg.
Many waited for the final moments, including Alonso and both Sauber drivers, but it was Sainz who outpaced them all, getting through to Q3 at the very end. Perez was therefore eliminated in 11th, along with Nasr, Ericsson, Alonso and Verstappen in 15th.
In the final part of qualifying, Hamilton again set the benchmark, going out on a new set of soft tyres. Ricciardo was a surprising second fastest, ahead Rosberg.
On the second laps, Vettel got on provisional pole, with Raikkonen following suit to set the second fastest time. It was then a waiting game for the Scuderia to know where they'd end up, with Rosberg first failing to beat Vettel time, but as Hamilton completed a perfect final corner following a very closely matched first and second sector, he got back in charge.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:33.928||1:32.669||1:32.571||16|
|3||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:34.398||1:33.878||1:33.129||16|
|7||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||1:34.691||1:34.403||1:33.832||15|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:35.653||1:34.613||1:34.450||15|
|9||55||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:35.371||1:34.641||1:34.462||18|
|10||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1||1:35.007||1:34.123||1:34.484||20|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:35.451||1:34.704||-||12|
|15||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1:35.611||1:35.103||-||14|
|16||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1||1:35.677||-||-||7|
|17||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Racing||1:35.800||-||-||6|
|20||22||Jenson Button||McLaren||No time||-||-||1|