Bahrain GP 2021 Qualifying: Max Verstappen Beats Hamilton to Pole, Vettel Only 18th

Published 03/27/2021, 12:13 PM EDT
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


Max Verstappen and Red Bull carried their momentum from pre-season testing to the season-opener. They walked the talk finally as he beat the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes duo could only muster a 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

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It proves that Mercedes were also not sandbagging throughout the test events a couple of weeks earlier. However, it was not all plain sailing for Red Bull as Sergio Perez was knocked out in Q2. He went out on mediums and clearly, it did not pay off.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

Both the Ferraris also made it to the final qualifying session. Charles Leclerc will start on the second row alongside Bottas and ahead of Pierre Gasly, who qualified 5th.

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The McLaren duo followed them with Sainz in 8th, the returning Fernando Alonso in 9th, and Lance Stroll taking the final place in Q3.

How Q1 and Q2 unfolded as Sebastian Vettel knocked out in the first session

Sebastian Vettel can’t seem to get the rub of the green. His departure from Ferrari was supposed to be a fresh change of scenery for him from a miserable 2021 F1 season. However, it was almost familiar or even worse territory for him as he could only qualify in 18th place.

And he can point the finger at Haas’ Nikita Mazepin for hindering his chances. The Russian rookie spun out his car down to Turn 1 at his final qualifying run.

As the likes of Esteban Ocon and Vettel were beginning their flying laps, the FIA brought out yellow flags in the first sector. So, he naturally had to lift off. Hence, it affected his final run and he couldn’t improve on his previous time.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 25, 2021 Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

Max Verstappen hoping to have a clean start tomorrow

Naturally, the Dutchman was brimming with joy after grabbing pole. However, his first run in Q3 was not error free, and he was behind the Mercedes duo. He attributed it to the overheating in his rear tires in the post-race interview with David Coulthard.

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 “My first lap in Q3 wasn’t amazing, so I knew there was more in it. You have to be careful with not overheating the rear tyres.”

This pole position would mean nothing if he isn’t able to convert it into a race win tomorrow. Max knows that the job is only half done, “We have a good car, now we just have to hope we have a good clean start and lap.”

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Let’s hope we have a belter of a race tomorrow. Red Bull are here on a mission; Mercedes have a battle ahead to defend their throne. Who will prevail?

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Bharat Aggarwal

668 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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