By Daniel Wilson.
Lewis Hamilton kept up his 100% qualifying form in 2015 with a supreme lap to take pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The world champion’s 1:32.571 lap time was four tenths quicker than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who beat Nico Rosberg and teammate Kimi Raikkonen onto the front row of the grid, as the Italian team reassert their prime threat to the Silver Arrows.
It’s Hamilton’s first pole at the desert circuit and ends a two-year consecutive run of poles for Rosberg at the track – piling more pressure on the German to find an answer to his teammate’s form.
The Williams drivers of Bottas and Massa occupy the third row, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, once again out-qualifying Daniil Kvyat who was knocked out in Q1 with a scruffy run.
Nico Hulkenberg secured Force India’s first Q3 appearance in ten races as he lined up 8th ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso.
McLaren-Honda had an anti-climatic day. Fernando Alonso demonstrated a big improvement to make it out of Q1 for the first time in 2015, but an electrical problem saw Jenson Button stop out on track for the third time this weekend, and he will start last for his 100th McLaren race.
However, tomorrow’s race looks like being a four-way battle as Ferrari’s impressive long-run pace on Friday rang alarm bells on the Mercedes pit wall. The last two races have shown the prancing horse uses its tyres better than the German team, and with Vettel on the front row, that could provide a tasty opportunity to repeat the success of Sepang – with teammate Raikkonen securing his best qualifying result all year too.
So, last year’s great battle between Hamilton and Rosberg could be repeated with two more cars in the mix for good measure.
Predictions for tomorrow’s race?
Is it Hamilton vs Vettel instead of Rosberg?
Has Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull career soured already?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!