2023 Bahrain Grand Prix – Qualifying: Verstappen's first step towards victory is complete
Max Verstappen snatched the first pole position of the 2023 season in Bahrain, followed by Sergio Perez in P2 and Charles Leclerc in P3.
Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying as it happened:
Q1: A big stoppage came after two small pieces of carbon fibre came off Charles Leclerc's car, landing in the middle of the track, triggering a red flag. The session was resumed after approximately 10 minutes, with 13 minutes left on the clock. Eliminated in Q1: Logan Sargeant (P16), who marked the exact same lap time as Lando Norris (P15 in Q1), Kevin Magnussen (P17), Oscar Piastri (P18), Nyck de Vries (P19) and Pierre Gasly (P20).
Q2: After a bunch of sessions circling around P5-P7, the Ferrari pair managed to place themselves at the top of the timesheets, with Charles Leclerc leading a 1-3. Eliminated in Q2: Lando Norris (P11), Valtteri Bottas (P12), Zhou Guanyu (P13), Yuki Tsunoda (P14) and Alex Albon (P15).
Q3: With 2 minutes left on the clock, and plenty of opportunity for another quick lap, Charles Leclerc returned to his pit box and jumped out of his car. He later went to say that this wasn't a strategic error, rather a strategic choice, in order for him to save a set of fresh, soft tyres for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen took the first pole position of the 2023 Formula 1 season, starting the year as a 2-time Champion would and should. By his side on the grid and in the garage, Sergio Perez, in P2, with Charles Leclerc in P3.
Carlos Sainz managed to place his SF-23 in P4, just ahead of Fernando Alonso in P5, and the Mercedes pair in P6 and P7, with George Russell ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Completing the top 10, Lance Stroll ended up in P8, despite having two broken wrists, Esteban Ocon in P9 and Nico Hulkenberg in P10, having no time registered on the board.