Charles Leclerc says he is "extremely happy" after securing the first pole position of his Formula 1 career at the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

In just his second grand prix outing for Ferrari, the 21-year-old outpaced his four-times world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel in all three segements of qualifying on his way to claiming pole by 0.294s on a dominant day for the Italian team. 

“There’s a lot of emotions,” Leclerc said. 

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“I’m trying to stay as cool as possible because unfortunately there are no points for pole position - all points will be awarded tomorrow. 

“Of course a great moment. It has been a great day and a great weekend until now for us and I hope it will continue tomorrow. 

“The target now is to focus on the race and try and do the best race possible. But it’s amazing to be here.”

Leclerc feels he could have extracted even more time from his final Q3 run but was happy to have a clean session after making an error on his Ferrari debut during Melbourne qualifying. 

“I think you can always do better,” he explained. “I am overall very happy with my lap in Q3. I think that was my weakness in the first race. I was disappointed after qualifying because of this. 

“Today I am very satisfied. I put my three best sectors together which is what I wanted. Of course you can always do better, but I’m extremely happy.

“I didn’t have any particular expectations,” Leclerc added. “I was completely aware of how much of a big step there is, team wise and also competition wise as obviously the drivers I’m fighting with now are the best. 

“I’m extremely happy it has started like this, but as I said it’s only qualifying. I hope I will have strong points tomorrow which is the most important.” 

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto praised the performance of Leclerc but remained cautious about the threat to come from rivals Mercedes on race day. 

“Well at first I’m very happy for Ferrari, for Charles as well, the first pole is important,” Binotto told Sky Sports. 

“He’s a good kid, and being a good kid I think we all love him but as well we love Sebastian [Vettel], so I think it’s great for the team, it’s great for him, and it won’t be the last one.

“I think the pace was good but very tough, we knew that it will be tough today with Mercedes, they are just behind us. 

“I think the race tomorrow will be very difficult, but I’m happy, happy for today certainly, happy after Australia - we’ve been focusing on ourselves. 

“We work hard, we understand the issues. I think the result of today certainly will give us confidence.”