Max Verstappen continued his dominant start to the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship this evening after clinching pole position for the season-opening F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

The Red Bull Racing ace topped all three Practice sessions over the weekend and now also set the pace in a thrilling Qualifying under the lights. He secured the leading grid position with a best lap time of one minute 28.997 seconds as the chequered flag came down on Q3.

Verstappen clinched his fourth career pole with the result. He beat defending F1 drivers’ World Champion Lewis Hamilton by just 0.388 seconds, while Valtteri Bottas followed in third, qualifying 0.589s behind, to put the two Mercedes cars in the top three.

Verstappen commented after Qualifying: “The car has been working really well and it has been enjoyable to drive. It all worked out perfectly in qualifying and of course I am very happy with pole position.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was classified fourth at the end of Q3 0.681s off Verstappen’s pace, while Pierre Gasly had a strong session for AlphaTauri, finishing 0.812s back.

The McLaren tandem of Daniel Ricciardo (+0.930s) and Lando Norris (+0.977s) followed, while Carlos Sainz (+1.218s) in the other Ferrari was eighth.