Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc won pole position in the opening race of the 2022 Formula 1 season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, after being the fastest in the qualifying session but he admitted he was still not satisfied with his performance at the Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Saturday (19/3).
After only recording a best lap time of one minute 32.640 seconds in the last practice session, Leclerc raced into qualifying and improved his time to one minute 30.558 seconds to beat world champion Max Verstappen by 0.123 seconds.
Leclerc’s team mate, Carlos Sainz, missed the opportunity to assert Ferrari’s dominance of the two leading grids which last happened at the 2019 Mexican GP by losing 0.006 seconds to Verstappen and having to settle for starting the race from third place.
Read also: Leclerc wins pole position in 2022 Formula 1 season opener
« It feels good, the last two years have been very difficult for our team and we know this year’s rules will be an opportunity for us, » said Leclerc after qualifying session, Saturday (19/3).
« I’m very happy today after a complicated qualifying session, but I’m not happy with the way I drive yet, » added the Monaco driver.
Ferrari has been on the brink of winning Formula 1 races since the last time at the Singapore GP in 2019, but has recently been heralded by rivals as the early seed in a new era of competition that brings radical new rules for a more exciting spectacle.
Verstappen, who last year clinched his first world title in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, was fastest in the last practice session.
However, he failed to maintain his form when needed. However, the Dutch racer believes his vehicle has the strength to compete in Sunday’s race (20/3).
« Earlier, the situation was a bit right and missed, the second qualification seemed pretty good, then the third qualification there was a problem to create a balance and unite it, » said Verstappen.
« But we have a good race car and this is a good start for tomorrow’s race. »
Mercedes’ prediction that it will be difficult to start the race for a record nine seasons in a row constructors’ title, which was considered by its rivals to be just a battle of conditions, seems to have come true.
Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton has just a half-second best time of Leclerc and started fifth. Meanwhile, his new partner George Russell will mark his first race as a full Mercedes driver with a relatively disappointing start in ninth place. (Ant/OL-1)