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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

Verstappen picks up in 2024 where he left off in 2023 with Bahrain Pole

It’s status quo in the world of Formula One as Max Verstappen and Red Bull took out the first pole position for season 2024.

The Dutchman delivered a lap of 1:29.179 to take pole by 0.228s from the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, and 0.306s from the Mercedes of George Russell.

Verstappen crossed the line doubting he had done enough to take the top spot, but was relieved to hear he had claimed pole, the 33rd of his career.

And while the challenge from behind didn’t materialise to stop the Red Bull threat, Leclerc and Russell will be somewhat relieved to know their times are much closer to Verstappen than they were 12 months ago, setting up the prospect of a very interesting race.

(Photo by the FIA)

In fact when removing Verstappen from the equation, only 0.143s separates Leclerc in second in Fernando Alonso in sixth, adding extra intrigue to the closeness of the field behind the dominant Red Bull.

Of those in the chasing pack, Carlos Sainz will start fourth for Ferrari, one spot ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez who never really looked close to matching the pace of his teammate.

Alonso impressed for Aston Martin and with sixth, ahead of the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile struggled to get the same pace out of the Mercedes as Russell and will start ninth, one spot ahead of the impressive Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

After setting the fastest time in FP1, it was back to reality for Daniel Ricciardo as the Aussie failed to make it out of Q2 and will start a disappointing 14th, three spots behind teammate Yuki Tsunoda.

It was also a disastrous day for Alpine, with the French outfit proving the concerns around their car are warranted with both cars starting dead last on the grid.

Will the closeness of the front pack prove a challenge for Verstappen or will the status quo continue into the first race in anger for 2024? All will be revealed from 2am AEDT Sunday morning.

Qualifying classification

1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull 1:29.179

2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +0.228

3 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.306

4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.328

5 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +0.358

6 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.363

7 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.435

8 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.504

9 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.531

10 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +1.323

11 Yuki TSUNODA RB 1:30.129

12 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.071

13 Alexander ALBON Williams +0.093

14 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +0.149

15 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +0.400

16 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber 1:30.756

17 Guanyu ZHOU Kick Sauber +0.001

18 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.014

19 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.037

20 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.192


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