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F1: Charles Leclerc wins first career pole in Bahrain, sets new track record

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It’s been a great weekend so far for Charles Leclerc.

After setting the fastest time in the first and second practice session, and finishing right behind teammate Sebastian Vettel in FP2, Leclerc broke the track record at the Bahrain International Circuit en route to his first Formula One pole Saturday night, with an elapsed time of 1:27.866.

The 21-year-old Ferrari driver becomes the second-youngest pole winner in F1 history. He also is the sport’s 99th pole sitter in its 999th race.

“I’m extremely happy. Seb is an amazing driver, but today I’m very happy to be on pole,” Leclerc told reporters following his pole run.

Leclerc’s teammate Sebastian Vettel (who holds the title of the youngest pole sitter of all time) qualified second with a time of 1:28.160, with Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton (1:28.98) and Valtteri Bottas (1:28.256) starting third and fourth, respectively.

Max Verstappen, who was the the only Red Bull entry to make it into Q3, will start Sunday’s Grand Prix fifth, with Kevin Magunssen, Carlos Sainz, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Lando Norris rounding out the top 10.

Daniel Ricciardo was not fast enough to make it into Q3 and will start the second GP of the season in the 11th position, and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg will start the race 17th after a disappointing Q1.

Update: Romain Grosjean will now start Sunday’s Grand Prix from the 11th position after being assessed a 3-spot grid penalty by race stewards for impeding Lando Norris by driving “unnecessarily slowly” in front of Norris, who was approaching quickly on a flying lap. As a result, Raikkonen now will start 8th, Norris will now start 9th and Ricciardo will now start the race in the 10th position.

Full qualifying results and times are listed below:

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Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.