April 21, 2018

Vettel takes GP pole in Ferrari one-two

08 April 2018, 01:20 | Kristopher Drake

Raikkonen hits mechanic in Bahrain pit lane

Raikkonen hits mechanic in Bahrain pit lane

The Ferrari driver, who also had the best lap in second practice on Saturday, clocked a leading time of 1 minute, 29.9 seconds on the 5.4-kilometer (3.3-mile) desert circuit. Hamilton has never won a race from outside the top six, while the Bahrain GP has never been won by anybody outside the top four.

The victor in Bahrain has started on pole on five of the past 13 occasions.

The 33-year-old is set to start Sunday's race on more durable soft tyres even as his rivals start on the super-soft.

"That was quite intense", said a relieved-looking Vettel, who ran wide over the kerbs at the final corner on his first run in the final qualifying phase. "First run in Q3 I was very happy and then I tossed it away last corner".

"I'll try and eke out every last bit of power and strength from this auto", Hamilton said.

In a further boost for Ferrari, the aging Kimi Raikkonen has looked sharp all weekend, leading the second and third practice.

Ferrari can take benefit from Raikkonen's speed, with all the Finn appearing a strong bet because of his very first pole position since last season's Monaco Grand Prix.

The Briton had been off the pace in the day's two free practice sessions, ending up the fourth fastest in the evening.

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He was on provisional pole as drivers embarked on their final runs but ran into traffic on his final flier. The 4-time world champion said that past year the Maranello had more pace at this point.

"I think the main thing for us today was to get the softer compounds to work, as with the supersoft we did pretty much the same time we had done with the softs, so that's the key thing for tomorrow".

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fifth, ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Pierre Gasly was ninth fastest for Toro Rosso, 1.570 seconds off the pace while Fernando Alonso completed the top ten for McLaren, trailing Gasly by a mere gap of 0.007 seconds.

He headed Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, separated from his team-mate Carlos Sainz in 10th by Force India's Esteban Ocon.

Sauber ended the session in 16th and 18th, with Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc being separated by Stoffel Vandoorne who was 17th for McLaren.

Vettel snatched an opportunistic win for Ferrari in Melbourne two weeks ago, despite Mercedes clearly having the faster auto.

Hamilton's setback in his bid to overhaul Vettel's early-season lead in the title race - following his victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix - was confirmed by the International Motoring Federation (FIA), the sport's ruling body.

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