Sebastian Vettel will start the Bahrain GP on pole position at the head of a Ferrari front-row lockout – and eight places ahead of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel, a somewhat fortunate victor in the season-opening Australian GP, edged out Scuderia team-mate Kimi Raikkonen with a late surge which the team hailed as a “lion’s lap”.
Raikkonen had been the fastest Ferrari driver throughout practice but it was Vettel who produced the goods when it mattered.
The German had run wide on his first flying lap for the Q3 shoot-out but made no mistake on his second and final attempt to secure the 51st pole position of his F1 career by just over a tenth of a second from Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton, who will be hit with a grid penalty due to an unscheduled gearbox change, was only fourth quickest.
As a result of his demotion, Hamilton will line up ninth for the race – underway at 4.10pm on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday.
Daniel Ricciardo, in a Red Bull car which is expected to perform strongly in race conditions, will join Bottas on the second row with Pierre Gasly, the unexpected star of qualifying, promoted to fifth in his Toro Rosso ahead of Hamilton…