Charles Leclerc secured the pole position for Ferrari on the first weekend of the new F1 season in Bahrain, setting the fastest qualifying time in the last part of qualifying, and the world champion Max Verstappen took the front row spot for Red Bull.

Sainz was the fastest after the first Q3 attempts with less than a tenth of an advantage ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen while Perez was fourth ahead of two Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Russell.

But Leclerc set a fantastic second lap with which he wins the tenth pole position in his F1 career while Verstappen managed to improve and take second place for Red Bull.

Sainz finished third for Ferrari after being the fastest after first attempts, and Perez was fourth in the second Red Bull, two tenths behind Sainz.

Mercedes was no threat to pole position as Hamilton was only fifth with 0.680 seconds behind and Bottas delighted at Alfa Romeo in sixth place.

Magnussen showed Haas potential in seventh place ahead of Alonso at Alpine, and Russell was only ninth with a second behind Hamilton.

Gasly finished last of the drivers who passed in Q3 in tenth place for AlphaTauri, unlike Tsunoda who dropped out already in Q1.

Ocon missed 11th place in 0.065 seconds to enter Q3 for Alpine, unlike team-mate Alonso, and Schumacher was disappointed that he too did not enter Q3 as Magnussen even though he achieved his career qualifying result in 12th place.

Norris was faster than Ricciardo in 13th place, but McLaren was disappointed as they failed to get through to the last part of qualifying with any of the drivers.

Albon passed in Q2 for Williams where he finished 14th fastest ahead of debutant Zhou at Alfa Romeo who was the slowest in the second half of qualifying.

Tsunoda was the fastest of the drivers who dropped out in Q1 after missing the third free practice due to car problems, and two Aston Martin drivers, Ricciardo in McLaren and Latifa in Williams, who was the slowest, also dropped out in the first part of qualifying.

Hulkenberg managed to beat Stroll by three tenths of a second in his first appearance after the Nurburgring in 2020, and Albon managed to beat Latifi after a one-year break.

The race is scheduled for 4 p.m (CET).

STARTING GRID

1 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:30.558
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30.681 0.123
3 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:30.687 0.129
4 11 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 1:30.921 0.363
5 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.238 0.680
6 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:31.560 1.002
7 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:31.808 1.250
8 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 1:32.195 1.637
9 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:32.216 1.658
10 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:32.338 1.780
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 1:31.782 1.224
12 47 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 1:31.998 1.440
13 4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 1:32.008 1.450
14 23 Alexander Albon Williams/Mercedes 1:32.664 2.106
15 24 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:33.543 2.985
16 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 1:32.750 2.192
17 27 Nico Hülkenberg Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:32.777 2.219
18 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 1:32.945 2.387
19 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 1:33.032 2.474
20 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:33.634 3.076
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