2024 Bahrain GP Qualifying: Max Verstappen On Pole

Max Verstappen clinches pole position for the season's first race, overcoming competition from Ferrari's quick pace, with George Russell in third.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 4, 2024

Max Verstappen Pole Position 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix
Max Verstappen secures pole position for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

In the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Max Verstappen is set to begin his pursuit of a fourth consecutive F1 world championship from the front of the grid after successfully countering a vigorous attempt by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the initial qualifying session of 2024.

George Russell, for Mercedes, achieved an impressive third place, narrowly missing Leclerc by a tenth, in their significantly revamped 2024 car. However, his teammate Lewis Hamilton could only manage ninth, relegating him to the fifth row for the first race of the season.

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In the crucial Q3 session, Verstappen, under the watchful eye of team principal Christian Horner from the Red Bull pit wall—who later congratulated him via radio—posted a final lap time of 1:29.179 to defeat Leclerc by 0.228 seconds for pole position narrowly.

Leclerc had briefly surpassed Verstappen’s ultimate pole time during Q2 but fell short by two-tenths in the all-important last round.

Until then, Ferrari, with Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz, had led the initial two qualifying sessions and appeared poised to challenge Verstappen and Red Bull, the dominant champions of the 2023 season, for the coveted pole position for Saturday’s race.

Sainz finished fourth, just ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, in fifth, who was 0.358 seconds slower than Verstappen.

Despite being within striking distance of Verstappen’s pole time and closely trailing Leclerc, the top 10 remained tightly contested, placing Lando Norris in seventh for McLaren, just behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in sixth.

Norris, expressing disappointment over his final qualifying attempt, acknowledged making a couple of errors that cost him a better position.

Contrary to concerns that they might lag significantly behind, Nico Hulkenberg showcased his remarkable qualifying prowess that became a staple last season, securing a spot in Q3 and 10th place for Haas during Ayao Komatsu’s first race weekend as the team’s new leader.

However, Alpine faced an unexpected setback during the first qualifying session of 2024.

Finishing sixth in the previous year’s championship, well behind the frontrunners yet markedly ahead of their competitors, Alpine overhauled its vehicle design for 2024, aiming for a significant leap in performance.

Yet, this transformation initially appears to have backfired, propelling them towards the back of the starting grid, with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly slated to start the season-opening race in 19th and 20th places, respectively. Despite this, the team remains optimistic about their car’s untapped potential, though they had cautioned that realising this potential might take some time.

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying Timesheet

1) Max VerstappenRed Bull1:29.179
2) Charles LeclercFerrari+0.228
3) George RussellMercedes+0.306
4) Carlos SainzFerrari+0.328
5) Sergio PerezRed Bull+0.358
6) Fernando AlonsoAston Martin+0.363
7) Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.435
8) Oscar PiastriMcLaren+0.504
9) Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.531
10) Nico HulkenbergHaas+1.323
Knocked out in Q2
11) Yuki TsunodaRB1:30.129
12) Lance StrollAston Martin1:30.200
13) Alex AlbonWilliams1:30.221
14) Daniel RicciardoRB1:30.278
15) Kevin MagnussenHaas1:30.529
Knocked out in Q1
16) Valtteri BottasSauber1:30.756
17) Zhou GuanyuSauber1:30.757
18) Logan SargeantWilliams1:30.770
19) Esteban OconAlpine1:30.793
20) Pierre GaslyAlpine1:30.948

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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