Lewis Hamilton will start today’s Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position after producing yet another scintillating display in qualifying on Saturday, but remains wary of the threat posed by Ferrari ahead of today’s race.
The defending Formula 1 world champion posted a fastest lap time of 1:32.571 in the final stage of qualifying to secure pole in Bahrain for the first time, four-tenths of a second clear of Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari.
Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was forced to settle for third place on the grid, admitting after the session that he failed to get into the correct rhythm during Q2 and was unable to hook up a quick lap when it mattered.
Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top four in the sister Ferrari, whilst Williams finished P5 and P6 with Valtteri Bottas finishing ahead of Felipe Massa.
Ferrari’s race pace during FP2 on Friday suggested that it could pose a serious challenge to Mercedes on Sunday, and with Vettel and Raikkonen getting amongst the Silver Arrows in qualifying, the stage is set for a thrilling battle under the lights in Bahrain.
Vettel knows what it takes to beat Mercedes in 2015, having claimed a shock victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix three weeks ago. High temperatures are set to favor Ferrari once again, but both Hamilton and Rosberg are more aware of the pace that the SF15-T possesses this time around.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
- Kimi Raikkonen received a reprimand on Friday for exiting the pits in an unsafe manner during FP2. Lewis Hamilton was cleared of any wrongdoing by the stewards for the same offence.
- Sebastian Vettel avoided a penalty despite making contact with Sergio Perez in FP2 on Friday. The German driver was found not to have been released in an unsafe state by Ferrari despite his wheel not being attached properly.
- Jenson Button has been given permission to race in Bahrain despite not posting a time in qualifying, and therefore finishing outside of the 107% time. He did post a time quick enough to meet this in FP2, though.
STARTING GRID FOR THE 2015 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams
6. Felipe Massa Williams
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
9. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus
11. Sergio Perez Force India
12. Felipe Nasr Sauber
13. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
14. Fernando Alonso McLaren
15. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
17. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
18. Will Stevens Manor
19. Roberto Merhi Manor
20. Jenson Button McLaren
The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.