Newly-crowned seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his 10th pole position of the 2020 season with a dominant display in qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton showed no sign of slowing down after clinching a record-equalling seventh world title last time out in Turkey as he topped all three qualifying sessions and was faster on each run on his way to taking a brilliant 98th pole of his career, edging out Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.289s.

The result ensured that Mercedes recorded its 11th front-row lockout of the year having claimed every pole bar one from the 15 events that have taken place so far, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen threatened to split the duo.

Verstappen was second-quickest prior to the final flying laps but Bottas found more time on his last effort to pip the Dutchman to second place and a spot on the front row alongside Hamilton.

Alex Albon was fourth-fastest as he looks to secure his seat alongside Verstappen at Red Bull for 2021, although he was six-tenths slower than the best lap his teammate achieved.

A stunning last-gasp effort from Sergio Perez saw the Racing Point driver snatch fifth place in the closing stages of Q3 as he pipped the Renault pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.

Pierre Gasly was eighth-fastest ahead of Lando Norris’ McLaren, while Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10 as AlphaTauri returned to form with both cars starting inside the top 10 following its disastrous display in Turkey.

Sebastian Vettel outqualified Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc for just the fourth time this year for 11th, while Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was unable to follow up his pole position heroics in Turkey with the Canadian blaming a team miscommunication for his Q2 exit on his way to finishing 13th.

George Russell progressed into the second part of qualifying for the ninth time in 2020 as he took 14th with a scruffy lap that ended up being nearly two seconds slower than his brilliant Q1 effort. Nevertheless, the Williams driver was able to continue his stunning qualifying head-to-head record against his F1 teammates.

There was disappointment for McLaren with Carlos Sainz set to start a lowly 15th after the Spaniard was sent into a red-flag inducing spin at Turn 1 on his very first lap in Q2.

Sainz reported his rear wheels had locked completely as he sat stranded on the track with what is suspected to be a brake-by-wire related problem.

Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to make it into the second segment of qualifying, although he did outpace Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen on Saturday for the seventh time this season to take 16th place on the grid.

The Haas drivers were also line-a-stern as Kevin Magnussen won the US squad’s latest intra-team qualifying duel to shade Romain Grosjean for 18th.

For the sixth time in his rookie F1 campaign, Nicholas Latifi found himself anchored to the bottom of the qualifying standings with a Q1 time that was nearly a full second slower than what Russell managed in the same session.




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