Hamilton sees off rivals with blistering Bahrain pole

No let-up from F1’s new seven-time champion as he claims 10th pole of 2020 season; Valtteri Bottas denies Max Verstappen place on front row with final lap; Ferrari suffer double Q2 elimination; Watch Sunday’s race from 2.10pm on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 12.30pm

Last Updated: 28/11/20 3:47pm

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Watch the final stages of Bahrain GP qualifying as Lewis Hamilton claimed yet another brilliant pole position.
Watch the final stages of Bahrain GP qualifying as Lewis Hamilton claimed yet another brilliant pole position.

Lewis Hamilton saw off a challenge from his rivals to claim the 98th pole of his F1 career for his first race as seven-time world champion at the Bahrain GP.

Hamilton topped all three qualifying sessions under the Sakhir lights and was ultimately untouchable in the decisive Q3 phase to seal his 10th pole of the year from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.289s with a lap of 1:27.264

Max Verstappen had been Hamilton’s closest challenger up to the final laps but was demoted to third by Bottas, 0.414s off pole.

Alex Albon recovered from his costly crash on Friday to ensure a second-row lockout for Red Bull in an important, if distant, fourth place – fractionally ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who is vying for the Thai driver’s seat.

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Perez was just half a tenth behind the Red Bull to win the midfield fight for Racing Point from Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, who themselves were split by a mere 0.002s.

McLaren suffered disappointment though as, despite strong form through practice, Lando Norris was their lead runner in ninth after Carlos Sainz spun out at the start of Q2 with an apparent technical problem on his car.

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After a strong start from McLaren in qualy Carlos Sainz goes spinning in Q2 meaning, he won’t start higher than 15th tomorrow.
After a strong start from McLaren in qualy Carlos Sainz goes spinning in Q2 meaning, he won’t start higher than 15th tomorrow.

Sainz will start no higher than 15th.

Ferrari locked out the front row on F1’s last visit to Bahrain in March 2019 but, despite showing recent improvement with the SF1000, the power-sensitive track again laid bare their 2020 frailties and both their drivers were knocked out in Q2.

Britain’s George Russell starred on Saturday again for Williams to make Q2 for the ninth time this year, the Briton qualifying 14th on a day team-mate Nicholas Latifi was slowest of all.

Bahrain GP Top 10
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Alexander Albon, Red Bull
5) Sergio Perez, Racing Point
6) Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
7) Esteban Ocon, Renault
8) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
9) Lando Norris, McLaren
10) Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri

Full Qualifying result

Champion Hamilton shows no mercy

Two weeks after equalling the most prestigious record in F1 with his seventh world championship title, Hamilton has shown no let-up on the stopwatch throughout the Bahrain weekend so far.

With further records still in sight in the final three races of this year – such as equalling Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel’s tallies for the most wins in a single F1 season – Hamilton still has tangible goals to target.

“I really didn’t celebrate [my seventh title] too much to be honest,” said Hamilton.

“That’s because I was training and keeping my mind and eye on the ball.

“This is a continuation of what we’re able to achieve as a team, I continue to be amazed by my guys.”

Verstappen, who had topped final practice, was second to Hamilton in Q2 and then again in the first runs of the pole shootout, but could not quite generate the grip from his soft tyres to break up the Mercedes front row.

“My lap was pretty good,” said the Dutchman, who has qualified third nine times in 15 races this year.

“Just lacking a bit of rear grip in the lower speed corners for my liking. But overall I think it was a decent qualifying – let’s see how we go tomorrow in the race because it’s very hard on tyres.

“I hope we made the right compromise for that.”

Bahrain GP Qualifying Result

Driver Team Time
1) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.264
2) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.289
3) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.414
4) Alexander Albon Red Bull +1.010
5) Sergio Perez Racing Point +1.058
6) Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1.153
7) Esteban Ocon Renault +1.155
8) Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +1.184
9) Lando Norris McLaren +1.278
10) Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri +1.354
Knocked out in Q2
11) Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:29.149
12) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:29.165
13) Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:29.557
14) George Russell Williams 1:31.218
15) Carlos Sainz McLaren No Q2 time set
Knocked out in Q1
16) Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:29.491
17) Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:29.810
18) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:30.111
19) Romain Grosjean Haas 1:30.138
20) Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:30.182

Source : Sky Sports