F1: Verstappen Pips Leclerc And Russell In Bahrain To First Pole Position Of 2024

Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes battled fiercely with only three tenths of a second separating the top nine drivers in a tight qualifying session.



2 mins read


Published on March 2, 2024

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  • Verstappen claims his 33rd career pole position
  • Hulkenberg impresses by guiding his Haas into Q3, while Alpine faces struggles
  • Mercedes sees mixed fortunes as George Russell shines and Lewis Hamilton settles for ninth

The 2024 Formula 1 season is well and truly underway under the lights in Bahrain and once again it's Max Verstappen on top as he claimed his 33rd career pole position. Yes, while it may seem like the Flying Dutchman is picking up where he left off after the most dominant season in the history of the sport last year, but we might still be in for a good fight as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell followed closer than expected.


The qualifying session witnessed a razor-tight battle among the top teams, with Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes dominating the top three positions and only three-tenths of a second covering the top nine. However, it was a disappointing outing for Lewis Hamilton, who could only manage a ninth-place start despite showing promising pace during Friday's practice sessions.

One of the standout moments of qualifying was Nico Hulkenberg's remarkable performance, placing his Haas car into Q3 despite initial doubts about the team's competitiveness. However, it wasn't smooth sailing for all, as Alpine found themselves at the back of the grid, highlighting their disappointing struggles in the early part of the season.

Verstappen's pole position was a testament to his exceptional skill and determination, especially after setting a blistering final lap in Q3 to secure the top spot. Despite Leclerc's impressive showing in Q2, he couldn't match Verstappen's pace in the final runs.

The Aston Martin team delivered a surprise with Fernando Alonso securing a sixth-place grid position, showcasing unexpected one-lap pace that left the team thrilled. Alonso expressed his delight at the competitive performance of the AMR24, highlighting improvements made since winter testing.

However, Aston Martin's joy was contrasted by Mercedes' mixed fortunes, with George Russell securing a strong third-place start, while Hamilton struggled to find the right balance for his car, settling for ninth on the grid. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed that the team opted for a less aggressive setup focused on race performance, potentially sacrificing some single-lap pace.

Looking ahead to the race, uncertainties loom over Aston Martin's long-run performance despite their impressive qualifying showing. Alonso remained cautious about the team's race pace, emphasising the need for continuous development to compete with the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes throughout the season.

As the stage is set for an exhilarating Bahrain Grand Prix, all eyes are on Verstappen as he aims to kickstart his title defence with a commanding victory. With surprises and upsets already shaping the early stages of the season, fans can expect a thrilling race weekend filled with excitement and drama on the track.


Starting Order:

  1. Verstappen (RED BULL RACING)
  2. Leclerc (FERRARI)
  3. Russell  (MERC)
  4. Sainz (FERRARI)
  5. Perez (RED BULL RACING)
  6. Alonso (ASTON MARTIN)
  7. Norris (MCLAREN)
  8. Piastri (MCLAREN)
  9. Hamilton (MERC)
  10. Hulkenberg (HAAS)
  11. Tsunoda (VISA CASH APP RB)
  12. Stroll (ASTON MARTIN)
  13. Albon (WILLIAMS)
  14. Ricciardo (VISA CASH APP RB)
  15. Magnussen (HAAS)
  16. Bottas (STAKE)
  17. Zhou (STAKE)
  18. Sargeant (WILLIAMS)
  19. Ocon (ALPINE)
  20. Gasly (ALPINE)
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