Max Verstappen reacts to beating Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton

F1 preview: A lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has claimed he was “surprised” at securing pole position after edging out Sergio Perez at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Verstappen topped the timesheets after falling behind Fernando Alonso in Saturday morning practice. 

He said: “It has been a bit of a tough start to the weekend yesterday and today not really finding my rhythm, but luckily in qualifying we managed to put the best pieces together.

“I am very happy to be on pole. For the whole team coming off last year and again having such a strong car with Checo up there as well.  It is amazing and I am looking forward to tomorrow. The changes slowed down the car a bit but we are still going faster, which is great to see. 

“Throughout the year, you will see everyone increasing their performance again a lot and that is the beautiful thing about Formula One. I was actually positively surprised to be on pole after the struggles I had in practice. Normally our race car is better, so let’s see.”

Red Bull appeared to struggle in Q1 but turned up their performance for the second session. The Dutchman then lit up the timing screens in Q3 to top the leaderboard.

Verstappen went even quicker on his final run with a lap over one-tenth faster than team-mate Sergio Perez. But, the Mexican admitted the team were focussed on Sunday in an ominous warning to Red Bull’s rivals.

Ferrari looked better in qualifying than they had through practice but were no match for the Red Bull duo with Charles Leclerc in P3 and Carlos Sainz fourth. 


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However, Leclerc was denied a second lap after Ferrari kept him in the garage. There were fears this was down to a mechanical failure but have since stressed this was a strategy decision to save tyres for tomorrow’s Grand Prix.

The Monegasque explained: “No, there was no issue, I think we were in the fight for pole which was good. But in the race run we were a little bit behind Red Bull so starting third on new tyres is better than starting first with old tyres. 

“In the race run we seem to have a bit of a weakness, so having a new tyre will help us.”

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