F1 Raceweek: Leclerc aims to play it cool in Bahrain

Charles Leclerc faces a battle with his emotions as well as the rest of the grid after qualifying on pole for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 21-year-old became the second youngest pole-sitter in history after outperforming Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

But he spoke of the importance of keeping his cool heading to the main event, having finished fifth on his debut for the team in Melbourne.

"There are a lot of emotions," he said in quotes reported by the Formula One website. 

"I'm trying to stay as calm as possible as no points are awarded for pole. I will enjoy the moment, it's been a great day and a great weekend overall for us so far. I hope it continues.

"Now we focus on the race and try and do the best race possible."

Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will begin the race on the second row, with the Finn seeking to make it back-to-back wins at the start of the season.

Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean was handed a three-place grid penalty after impeding McLaren driver Lando Norris, pushing him down to 11th.

HAMILTON FIRES FERRARI WARNING

Hamilton, a winner in Bahrain in 2014 and 2015, is not used to being kept off the front row.

But the five-time world champion was still feeling in positive mood, confident Ferrari were catchable. 

"I made changes to the car overnight, so I'm hopeful the car is in a better position," he said. "It's why I'm a bit more upbeat.

"Now we are in a better position. [Sunday is] the more important day and it will be interesting to see how we do.

"We're going to give them a good fight, that's for sure. They've showed incredible pace but it doesn't mean they can't be beat.

"We're going to work on it, keep our heads down and see what happens."

 

GROSJEAN'S GRID GROAN

It looked to have been a good day for Grosjean until word of his punishment – which included a penalty point on his Super Licence – came through, with the 32-year-old saying as much himself in a tweet.

But while he kept his thoughts succinct, team principal Guenther Steiner was decidedly more forthright, particularly on the matter of his driver's penalty point.

"He didn't do anything wrong, there was no radio call," he said. "Why should he get a point? It's completely inappropriate. The grid penalty, we can discuss, but to give him a point. Guys? Where are we living?

"It's very difficult if you have one car in the middle which is on a fast lap. I don't want to discuss the penalty of the grid position, that's a different story. But a point to the driver? What can he do? He should look in the mirror, yes, but then he doesn’t look forward. I don’t know where the stewards are going with it."

THE GRID

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 
6. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) 
9. Lando Norris (McLaren) 
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Sebastian Vettel
2017: Sebastian Vettel
2016: Nico Rosberg

WEATHER FORECAST

It will be warm but there is no guarantee the track will remain dry, with an outside chance of stormy weather.

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