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Formula 1: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel Takes Pole Position At Bahrain GP As Mercedes Struggles

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| April 8 , 2018 , 13:21 IST

Sebastian Vettel put in hot-lap to put his Ferrari on pole position on Saturday in the Qualifying session of Bahrain Grand Prix. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen was second as Mercedes struggled to find the pace.

After winning the season opener at Melbourne, Sebastian Vettel looked to capitalise on the advantage he had in the Driver’s Championship.

From the onset, Ferrari seemed to have the superior car this weekend to that of Mercedes. They dominated the two out of the three practice sessions and showed how far along they’ve developed the car to match Mercedes and to even be a notch up in some circuits.

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Red Bull also has a good car this weekend, but their engine supplier in Renault don’t have the power surge mode in Qualification as Ferrari and Mercedes. Ergo, it wasn’t expected out of them to have their car in the front row, especially at a power-track circuit like Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. Their race-pace, however, is parallel to that of the two aforementioned teams and being as far ahead of the pack in Qualifying would’ve helped them to put up a decent fight.

Last year’s pole position winner Valtteri Bottas settled for the third place on the grid. Tracks such as Sakhir play more to the driving style on the Finnish driver, and out qualifying his Mercedes teammate in Lewis Hamilton would give him a confidence boost after a crash at Melbourne.

The Defending World Champion Hamilton struggled at this track on Friday and Saturday. His car was struggling to find grip and it was apparent how difficult it was for the team to put in a clean lap. He also has a five-place grid penalty this weekend as he changed his gearbox so he will be starting from ninth.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo put in a scorcher of a lap to be fifth and just a few tenths off the pace from Hamilton, showing how fast his car is this season. His teammate Max Verstappen crashed out of the session and will be starting from 15th position.

The surprise of the weekend has to be Pierre Gasly of Toro-Rosso Honda who managed to snatch the sixth place on the grid. Given how good the rest of the cars such as Haas, McLaren, Renault and Force India have the Frenchman’s blistering pace earned him plaudits from everyone.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon managed to have a respectable top ten place on the grid while teammate Sergio Perez will be starting eleventh.

ALSO READ: Sebastian Vettel Leads Ferrari To Win Australian Grand Prix 2018

McLaren had to taste disappointment again as their drivers qualified 12th and 13th respectively.

Vettel will be looking to extend his lead in the driver's championship and the luck seems to be on his side. With Hamilton starting from far back, he needs to still be wary of his teammate Raikkonen, Bottas and Ricciardo. Thankfully for the fans, this track unlike the Albert Park in Melbourne offers way more overtaking opportunities and it will be interesting to see what pit stop strategies the teams will adopt at this heavy tyre wear circuit.

The race will be on Sunday, April 8.