He pips Hamilton to the top of the grid.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed the season-opening pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes.
Verstappen took his fourth career pole ahead of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.
It was the first time in the sport’s V6 turbo hybrid era that began in 2013 that Mercedes, winner of the drivers’ and constructors’ championships for the past seven years, had not taken pole for the first race.
“It all worked out perfectly,” said Verstappen, regarded as the biggest challenger to Hamilton’s quest for a record eighth title.
Earlier in the day, Verstappen had completed a clean sweep of the practice sessions. The Dutch 23-year-old, who was fastest in pre-season testing, had a best lap of one minute 30.577 seconds. He was quickest in both of Friday’s sessions.
Hamilton was second-quickest, but 0.739s behind, with AlphaTauri’s French driver Pierre Gasly third and more than a second off the pace in nearly 50 degree temperatures.
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