Ferrari way faster in Bahrain says Bottas

Charles Leclerc has hailed his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel after he seized the first pole position of his Formula One career yesterday during qualifying for today's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Leclerc, 21, claimed his maiden F1 pole position on Saturday evening, comfortably beating Vettel in qualifying in just his second race weekend with Ferrari.

Mercedes dominated the show at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and stayed ahead of a disappointing Ferrari, who fell off the pace.

Therefore Leclerc is free to race against Vettel providing there is not too much risk or carelessness which could cost Ferrari valuable points as the proud Italian manufacturer seeks a first constructors' championship since 2008.

Leclerc, quickest in all three qualifying sessions, said over the team radio: "Tomorrow is the race where we score points but today is a good beginning".

His father holds the record for most F1 titles and most wins with 91, although five-time F1 champion Hamilton is second with 73 and has one more season left on his current Mercedes contract. They were led by Williams' Robert Kubica who had previously been pole victor here all the way back in 2008 with BMW Sauber; this time it was Toro Rosso's Alex Albon who set the initial benchmark of 1:31.125s.

The F1 world champion spoke out after he supported England's footballers who were racially abused during their match in Montenegro on Monday. "I will try to finish the job".

Interviewer to Bottas: You said Australia was the best race of your career, why do you think that was, Is it Becuase this year Mercedes suits you better than either of the previous two? "It will not be his last one".

Ferrari struggled two weeks ago in Australia but hit the ground running in Bahrain, with Charles Leclerc fastest in FP1 - a second clear of Mercedes - and Vettel then topping the times in FP2.

That forced the German to leave a bit of a margin in the fight for pole.

"There is potential but maybe this weekend I didn't take the right direction". Valtteri was already strong in 2018, he was just unlucky in a few races.

"He says he wasn't", added Hamilton.

"In Melbourne we had to explain why Ferrari was so slow". Further back, keep an eye out for the two Renaults that showed promising pace throughout practice and will be able to make progress on a track that is always easy to pass on. Red Bull's Max Verstappen qualified fifth followed by Haas driver Kevin Magnussen.

Grosjean was later handed a three place drop for impeding McLaren's British rookie Lando Norris in the first phase, lifting Kimi Raikkonen to eighth for Alfa Romeo and Norris to ninth. British novice George Russell and Robert Kubica were an eye-watering 1.5 sec slower than the next vehicle.

  • Julie Sanders