Recapping all the additional stories and nuggets of news on a busy day in Bahrain, F1 Editor Luke Smith brings you his Paddock Notebook.

- Sebastian Vettel picked up the 51st pole position of his Formula 1 career in Bahrain on Saturday, meaning he is now 14 behind Ayrton Senna for third in the all-time record list.

- Teammate Kimi Raikkonen may have finished on the podium in Bahrain on eight occasions, yet tomorrow will be the first time he has started the race from the front row of the grid. Raikkonen’s previous best qualifying in Bahrain was third in 2007.

- Vettel’s day was not without some concern, though, as he took a new control electronics on his power unit ahead of qualifying. The change means he is already onto his second of two elements for the 2018 season.

- After qualifying fourth, Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s race from P9, matching his lowest grid spot in Bahrain from 2013. Hamilton recovered to fifth place at the chequered flag on that day.

- The beneficiaries of Hamilton’s penalty are Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon, all of whom gain one position.

- By starting fifth, Gasly not only will enjoy his best grid position in F1 so far, but it also marks Toro Rosso’s highest start since the 2016 Australian Grand Prix.

- Teammate Brendon Hartley also managed his best qualifying result so far in F1, taking P11 despite damaging his front wing on his first Q1 lap after hitting a bird: “I didn’t see the bird - I doubt he’s still alive…” Hartley received an updated aero package on his Toro Rosso car today, having seen Gasly get first usage on Friday.

- Haas had a mixed qualifying result as Kevin Magnussen finished one second clear of Romain Grosjean in Q1. Magnussen went on to qualify seventh, while Grosjean was knocked out in Q1 despite setting an identical time to Fernando Alonso in P15, albeit later in the session. “It could only happen to us!” Grosjean joked. It was also team principal Günther Steiner’s birthday on Saturday.

- Max Verstappen put his surprise spin and crash during Q1 down to an unexpected spike in the hybrid power, causing significant wheel spin at the exit of Turn 3.

- Both Sauber and Williams finished more than half a second adrift of the field in Q1, filling out the bottom four positions. Charles Leclerc was left fuming after spinning at the final corner on his last Q3 lap, saying over team radio: “I am so stupid. My bad.” Williams' result was its worst in qualifying since the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

- The technical bosses from the F1 teams met with the FIA on Saturday morning to discuss any possible ways to improve overtaking this season following concerns in Australia, but the meeting failed to yield any changes. “Anything short-term is really tough,” Force India’s Andrew Green said. “I think they are trying to do it by increasing the DRS zones, but I think that’s probably the limit really.”

- Tomorrow’s race is expected to offer a mix of one- and two-stop strategies, with the Supersoft and Soft tyres the main compounds that will be used. Lewis Hamilton will start on Softs, while the rest of the top 10 are confirmed to start on Supersofts. P11 downwards has free choice.

- Only two of the last six races in Bahrain have been won from pole position. However, the race has never been won by a driver starting outside of the top four since joining the calendar in 2004.

- Ex-F1 CEO and current chairman emeritus Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance of the year in the paddock on Saturday, arriving just ahead of FP3. Ecclestone was told he would have his usual office in the main pit building, only to be given a different office in the large circuit tower outside of the paddock.

- Fans at the Bahrain International Circuit enjoyed concerts from Benjamin Booker and electronic artist Disclosure on Saturday night in Sakhir.

- The annual F1 media karting event at the Bahrain International Karting Circuit, which hosted the 2016 FIA world championships, saw ESPN’s Laurence Edmondson take a double victory, albeit in controversial fashion after contact with Motorsport-Magazin’s Christian Menath in the opening race. F1 Editor Luke Smith recorded finishes of P7 and P8 on debut.


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