Charles Leclerc will is the first pole sitter for the 2022 Formula 1 season after Ferrari showed strong pace throughout qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
He and teammate Carlos Sainz both looked like contenders for pole position, but reigning champion Max Verstappen managed to split the Ferraris to join Leclerc on the front row, with Sergio Perez just behind the trio in fourth.
Mercedes’s pace issues continued, with Lewis Hamilton only able to make it into fifth, where he’ll start alongside former teammate Valtteri Bottas, who makes his debut for Alfa Romeo this weekend. Hamilton’s new teammate George Russell’s efforts were hampered by a mistake on his fastest lap, leaving him down in ninth.
It was a qualifying to remember for Haas as Kevin Magnussen will start from seventh on his return to the team, while Mick Schumacher lines up a few rows back in 12th.
Daniel Ricciardo recovered from Covid-19 in time for this weekend’s Grand Prix, but missed track time during testing may have cost him as the Australian dropped out in Q1.
It was a disappointing session for Aston Martin as well as both cars were eliminated in the first part of qualifying, but Nico Hulkenberg, racing for the first time since 2020 in place of Covid-positive Sebastian Vettel, outqualified teammate Lance Stroll.
Nicholas Latifi starts last for Williams, but there was better luck for Alexander Albon on his return to F1, who made it through to Q2 to start from 14th place in his first race with the team.
Making his F1 debut, Guanyu Zhou reached the second part of qualifying, but his fastest lap in the session was deleted for a track limits violation, leaving him in 15th.
Provisional qualifying result:
1 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
6. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
8. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
9. George Russell (Mercedes)
10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
11. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
12. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
13. Lando Norris (McLaren)
14. Alexander Albon (Williams)
15. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)
16. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
17. Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin)
18. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
19. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)