Lewis Hamilton seals another dominant pole position in Bahrain

Lewis Hamilton celebrated his seventh world championship by putting his Mercedes on pole position for Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton dazzled under the 495 bulbs that light up the Sakhir Circuit to post a new track record and beat team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.289 seconds.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen will slot in behind the Mercedes cars, finishing in third, four tenths off Hamilton's blistering pace.

Hamilton galloped to the championship which drew him level with Michael Schumacher with three rounds to spare in Turkey a fortnight ago.

But the 35-year-old Englishman has shown little signs of taking his foot off the throttle here in the desert, topping two of the three practice sessions before securing another pole against his weary opposition.

Hamilton has already won 10 of the 14 races staged in this Covid-disturbed calendar and his 98th career pole leaves him on track to complete his century before the end of the year, with another race in Bahrain next week, before the season finale in Abu Dhabi on December 13.

This also marked Mercedes' 11th front-row lockout of the campaign.

"I just continue to be amazed by my guys who work so hard, week in week out," said Hamilton.

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: <> during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Fire marshals put out a fire on Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured being helped into an ambulance after a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Track marshals clear the debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Track marshals clear the debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured on a screen escaping his crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
The suvival cell of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car is removed after a crash during the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Hamad Mohammed - Pool/Getty Images)
Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car burns after crashing during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by KAMRAN JEBREILI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured being helped into an ambulance after a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on from the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Stewards and medics attend to Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean (2nd-R) after a crash at the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
A steward reacts as officials put out a fire on Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean car following a crash during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The remains of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car are seen through the barriers after crashing at the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Stewards watch as Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car burns during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri talks with his engineers on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Track marshals clear the debris following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Nicholas Latifi of Canada and Williams, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari kneel as Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri and Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari stand in support of ending racism before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on from the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP20 Mercedes is launched upside down following a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Hamad Mohammed - Pool/Getty Images)
A Gulf Air plane passes over the track ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: FIA Race Director Michael Masi and FIA President Jean Todt pose for a photo on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: A general view of the Sakhir Tower at the circuit prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
A Gulf Air plane passes over the track ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (L) greets Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton after the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP poses with the pole position award in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Hamad Mohammed - Pool/Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton speaks after the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton greets members of his team after the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Jack Aitken of Great Britain and Campos Racing prepars for the Round 11:Sakhir Feature Race of the Formula 2 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the third practice session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Tolga Bozoglu - Pool/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 on track during final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen drives during the qualifying session on the eve of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 28, 2020. (Photo by Kamran JEBREILI / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAMRAN JEBREILI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: The Red Bull Racing team practice pitstops before final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 28, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
The wreckage of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car is pictured after a crash at the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA BOZOGLU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - NOVEMBER 29: Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 is pictured walking from his car after a crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on November 29, 2020 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
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"To be up here in Bahrain, I just wanted to come here and enjoy it and that is the most important thing.

"The pressure is off so that was just a release. It is about trying to find the perfect lap, and it was a very clean lap and I was happy with it."

Alexander Albon is fighting to save his Formula One future, with his seat at Red Bull under threat, and he did little to enhance his prospects by crashing out of practice on Friday.

However, competing in a new chassis after his machine was written off in his practice shunt, Albon qualified fourth, one place ahead of Racing Point's Sergio Perez who is the front-runner to replace Albon in 2021.

A Ferrari finished fastest in all of the practice sessions and qualifying at this venue last year, but such is the demise of the Scuderia that both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to make it into the top 10.

#Quali Results 🏁#essereFerrari 🔴 #BahrainGPpic.twitter.com/tVPzPWz2rn

— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) November 28, 2020

Vettel is entering the final weeks of his Ferrari career before he moves to the Racing Point, rebranded as Aston Martin, in 2021. He finished 11th on Saturday, one spot ahead of team-mate Leclerc.

Lance Stroll sprung one of the biggest surprises in recent F1 memory by claiming his maiden career pole at the last round in Istanbul.

But the Canadian will line up 13th in Bahrain, sharing the same row as George Russell after the young Briton preserved his unblemished qualifying record against his Williams team-mates to finish 14th.

Russell's mighty record now stands at a combined 36-0 against Robert Kubica last year and Nicholas Latifi in 2020. Russell was the best part of one second quicker than Latifi in the sister car.

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