Max Verstappen takes pole position at Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Verstappen had played down his status as favourite, but his confident demeanour and body language told another story, and the car’s pace on track and his driving underlined it. Verstappen was quickest in all three practice sessions, and again in the first qualifying session, and his pace in the final session was everything he had been promising up to that point. Verstappen pipped Hamilton by only 0.023secs on his first lap in the final session, but pulled a storming lap out of the bag on his last run. “Of course we already had a great test week,” Verstappen said. “My first lap in Q3 wasn’t amazing, so I knew there was more in it. He was 0.5secs quicker than team-mate Esteban Ocon on his first lap in the first session before the Frenchman was hampered by a yellow flag on his second lap and was knocked out at the end of Q1. But the Mexican came unstuck in the second session, when he chose to continue on the medium tyres for a second run, after being 0.4secs slower than Verstappen on his first run, and was leapfrogged by other drivers with slower cars switching to the softs.

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