Leclerc beats Verstappen to pole as Ferrari shines in Bahrain

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuitbh

Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc grabbed the pole position for tomorrow's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, beating reigning world champion Max Verstappen and his Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz.

Leclerc tops first session

Williams drivers were the first to have a go when the qualifying session started for the first time in 2022. However, Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi headed back to the pits after completing two laps, leaving Pierre Gasly to set the first lap time.

Mercedes sent their drivers quite late on to the track, and both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton needed to complete two hot laps to secure a place in the remainder of the qualifying session. Ferrari drivers were quick out of the box, setting the fastest times ahead of Max Verstappen.

Yuki Tsunoda was the first driver to fail to get himself into Q2 after missing the final free practice session due to hydraulic issues. Aston Martin continued to lack pace with Nico Hülkenberg and Lance Stroll only finishing P17 and P19 respectively.

After missing the Official Pre-Season Test due to Covid-19, Daniel Ricciardo was unable to progress through the middle section of qualifying. McLaren’s Australian driver only managed P18 which puts him into a difficult situation for tomorrow’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi rounded off the timesheet for Williams, eight tenths of a second adrift of the second slowest Stroll.

Verstappen on top in Q2

Verstappen set the fastest time with a 1m 30.767s to beat the Ferrari duo in the second part of the qualifying session. In the other Red Bull, Perez finished fourth – 0.251s off – while Mercedes’ Hamilton was narrowly off in fifth and Russell sixth.

It was the first time since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, both Haas drivers made it to Q2 but Kevin Magnussen went all the way to Q3. Mick Schumacher was on a strong lap in the dying minutes of the session, but was forced to abort it, and will start tomorrow’s race from P12.

Alpine’s Oviedo-born driver Fernando Alonso made it to Q2, but his team mate Esteban Ocon was knocked out. Despite the promising form in Barcelona, McLaren’s Lando Norris was unable to progress through Q3, ending up P13.

F1 returnee Alexander Albon managed to go a tenth of a second quicker than his Q1 time, but it was only enough for P14 while the sport’s only newcomer Zhou Guanyu failed to repeat his previous times, managing only a 1m33.543s which puts him into P15 on the grid for tomorrow’s Manama race.

Leclerc reigns in final session

When the lights changed to green in the last qualifying segment, Mercedes drivers went out on a used set of soft compound which meant that they were not in contention for grabbing a position in the sharp end of the field. However, the Ferrari drivers and Max Verstappen kept each other honest by getting the best out of their cars.

Sainz set the best time, beating his team mate Leclerc while Verstappen was only third fastest. The Dutch driver complained about the tyres which indicated that there was more to come from him.

On the second run, Leclerc delivered a brilliant performance to post a time of 1m30.558s which was enough to clinch the season’s first pole position. Verstappen was also quick, improving his previous sector times, but he was over a tenth of a second adrift of the Monegasque’s benchmark. Ferrari’s Spanish driver was quick through the first sector of the lap, but needed to abort his lap due to a driver error, and ended up P3.

Mercedes made it to Q3 couldn't make it into the front row. Hamilton took fifth while his new team mate ended up only P9 after messing up his last qualifying lap. Hamilton’s former team mate Bottas finished sixth fastest for Alfa Romeo Ferrari while F1 returnee Kevin Magnussen took seventh with Haas Ferrari which indicated how much Ferrari have managed to improve their power trains for 2022.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:31.4711:30.9321:30.55815
21Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:31.7851:30.7571:30.68114
355Carlos SainzFerrari1:31.5671:30.7871:30.68715
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Rbpt1:32.3111:31.0081:30.92118
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:32.2851:31.0481:31.23817
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:31.9191:31.7171:31.56015
720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:31.9551:31.4611:31.80812
814Fernando AlonsoAlpine Renault1:32.3461:31.6211:32.19514
963George RussellMercedes1:32.2691:31.2521:32.21617
1010Pierre GaslyAlphatauri Rbpt1:32.0961:31.6351:32.33821
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:32.0411:31.78212
1247Mick SchumacherHaas Ferrari1:32.3801:31.99811
134Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:32.2391:32.00814
1423Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:32.7261:32.66413
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:32.4931:33.54312
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Rbpt1:32.7508
1727Nico HulkenbergAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:32.7776
183Daniel RicciardoMclaren Mercedes1:32.9458
1918Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:33.0326
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes1:33.6348