Bahrain Grand Prix: Hamilton shows class to snatch pole position

Bahrain Grand Prix: F1 preview

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton bounced back from an initial blunder in Q3 to claim pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix in a record-breaking time on Saturday.

The Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen led the way in final practice, but normal service resumed later in the day as Mercedes locked down the front row, as they had in Melbourne for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel and Raikkonen were able to get the better of Hamilton in their first runs of the last qualifying session as the Briton ran wide at the final corner.

However, with elimination looming, Hamilton responded brilliantly to overhaul both Ferrari drivers and team-mate Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:29.493 - the fastest lap recorded in Bahrain.

Rosberg (+0.077secs) also improved on his second run, but had to settle for second - the position from which he won last time out.

Next came Vettel (+0.519secs) and Raikkonen (+0.751secs), both men ultimately some way off the Mercedes' searing pace.

The top eight was rounded out by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India).

As had been the case in Australia, the new qualifying format - with drivers eliminated at 90-second intervals - resulted in limited action towards the end of sessions one and two, although Ferrari's threat ensured a more exciting finale.

McLaren rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, driving in place of the injured Fernando Alonso, qualified 12th, two places ahead of vastly experienced team-mate Jenson Button.

Pascal Wehrlein also produced an impressive performance to qualify 16th for Manor, while Renault's Kevin Magnussen - the fourth man eliminated in Q1 - was already sure to start Sunday's race from the pit lane after failing to stop at a red light for a weight check during FP2.

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:29.493
2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:29.570
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:30.012
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:30.244
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:30.854
6. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:31.153
7. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:31.155
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:31.620
9. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:31.756
10. Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) 1:31.772

Formula One: Bahrain Grand Prix qualifier

Formula One: Bahrain Grand Prix qualifier