Verstappen beats Hamilton to clinch first pole position of 2021 season

Red Bull's Max Verstappen. /VCG
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. /VCG

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on Saturday beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in qualifying to clinch the first pole position of the 2021 season ahead of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen has produced near-perfect performances all weekend, ending Mercedes’ seven-year run of pole positions at F1’s season-opening round.

“We had a great testing week but there are no guarantees it translates to race weekends. The car has been working really well and of course I’m happy with pole,” said the 23-year-old.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We need to get a clean start and take it from there”

Hamilton congratulated the Red Bull driver, sayings second place was the best he could do.

“Congratulations to Max, so fast on that last lap!,” said the British driver.

“I absolutely gave it everything I had, but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough. There’s always more, but it was the best I could do, I got everything I could from the car.”

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas qualified third, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly fourth and fifth respectively.

McLaren duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris qualified sixth and seventh respectively while Ferrari’s second driver Carlos Sainz Jr. took eighth. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll took ninth and tenth respectively.

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