CHARLES Leclerc led Ferrari to take pole position for the opening race of the 2022 Formula 1 Bahrain GP season after achieving the fastest time in the qualifying phase at the Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Saturday (19/3).
Although in the last practice session they lost 0.096 seconds to world champion Max Verstappen, Leclrec managed to achieve a lap time of 1 minute 30.558 seconds or 0.123 seconds ahead of the Red Bull racer.
Another Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz will start in third after clocking 0.129 seconds slower than his team mate.
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Meanwhile, Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio Perez, completes the dominance of Ferrari and Red Bull in the two leading start lines. Perez will start the race from fourth place after his best time is still 0.363 seconds adrift of Leclerc.
Meanwhile, Mercedes driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for starting the race from fifth with his former team-mate who now oversees Alfa Romeo, Valtteri Bottas, in sixth place.
Kevin Magnussen, who replaced the suspended Russian Nikita Mazepin in the aftermath of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, started his return to Formula 1 with Haas in seventh place while the aging Alpine driver Fernando Alonso started eighth.
Hamilton’s new partner at Mercedes, George Russell, got just ninth starting place alongside AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, who completes the list of the top 10 starts.
Both Leclerc and Verstappen, who started in the front two, have a chance to break Hamilton’s dominance in Bahrain, who has won the race for the last three seasons. (Ant/OL-1)