Formula 1 2020 champion Lewis Hamilton took his 10th pole position of the season in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Though Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had topped FP3 earlier on Saturday, he complained of “not having the same rear grip” during qualifying and was powerless to stop Hamilton and Mercedes from sweeping all three segments of qualifying.
Hamilton was a tenth and a half up on Verstappen after the opening runs in Q3, with the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas a further tenth off a provisional front row spot.
But Bottas improved on his second run to jump ahead of Verstappen, though Hamilton’s own improvement left him three tenths clear of his team-mate.
Alex Albon made it a second row lock-out for Red Bull despite being six tenths slower than Verstappen in the end.
Sergio Perez claimed fifth for Racing Point, ahead of Renault duo Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, the latter missing out on a rare qualifying victory against Ricciardo by just 0.002s.
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly was as high as fourth after logging his final lap but was shuffled down to a final eighth place, albeit less than two tenths off fourth-placed Albon.
Lando Norris, who had flirted with elimination in Q1, was the lead McLaren in ninth in a disappointing qualifying for the team, while Daniil Kvyat made up the top 10 as AlphaTauri reached Q3 with both cars for the second time in three races.
An apparent rear brake failure for Carlos Sainz Jr brought out an early red flag in the second segment, as his McLaren locked the rears and snapped out of control entering Turn 1, leaving him stranded on exit of the corner.
RED FLAG 🚩
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 28, 2020
Once it resumed, every driver but Williams man George Russell sought to make Q3 on the mediums, and it was ultimately the two Ferraris, Turkey poleman Lance Stroll and Russell who joined Sainz on the sidelines.
At Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel outqualified Charles Leclerc for the second grand prix weekend running, winning the intra-team battle by 0.016s.
Stroll was a distant 13th, complaining of a “miscommunication” on the radio after the session – with the red flag appearing to have left the Canadian without any fresh sets of the medium.
Seven tenths off his team-mate and four tenths off the Ferrari row-six lock-out, Stroll was spared further embarrassment by Russell not getting a representative lap Q2 in.
Joining Sainz on row eight will be Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who was just 0.027s off denying the other McLaren of Norris a spot in the second segment.
Regardless of missing Q2, he handily won the intra-team battle against his squadmate Kimi Raikkonen, who trailed Giovinazzi by four tenths after the first runs in Q1 and only reduced the deficit by around a tenth at the chequered flag.
Yet this was still enough for Raikkonen to take 17th and comfortably outpace the closely-matched Haas duo, with Kevin Magnussen just beating Romain Grosjean to 18th.
Nicholas Latifi suffered his 15th successive team-mate defeat in qualifying, and though he was just 1.839s off Hamilton’s Q1-topping pace, he failed to escape last place and was nine tenths slower than Russell.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||1m28.885s||1m28.025s||1m27.678s|
|4||Alex Albon||Red Bull-Honda||1m28.732s||1m28.749s||1m28.274s|
|5||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point-Mercedes||1m29.178s||1m28.894s||1m28.322s|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-Mercedes||1m28.679s||1m29.557s|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m29.491s|
|17||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m29.81s|