Sakhir GP: Bottas pips Russell to pole by just 0.026s

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Valtteri Bottas beat stand-in teammate George Russell by just 0.026s to claim pole for Sunday's Sakhir Grand Prix.

Fears of carnage on the short 'Outer Circuit' in Bahrain were unfounded in a clean session for all, but the gaps were incredibly close on the 3.5km layout.

Bottas continually had the edge on the Briton throughout, but Russell kept improving bit and bit and can certainly be proud to be so close to the Finn, who has been a match for Lewis Hamilton for much of the season over a single lap.

For Max Verstappen, it was the same old story in third, as he came up just 0.056s shy of pole in the Red Bull.


Bottas sets the pace ahead of Verstappen at the front after Mercedes complete a second run on soft tyres.

Albon unexpectedly found himself on the bubble in 15th, but no one would improve in the final moments to threaten to Red Bull.

Instead, it was Kevin Magnussen just missing out in 16th, with Nicholas Latifi less than a tenth ahead of stand-in teammate Jack Aitken in an impressive session for the Briton.

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Kimi Raikkonen was a disappointing 19th, as Pietro Fittipaldi was half a second off the rest of the grid in 20th.


In Q2, the gaps were incredibly close with less than three-tenths of a second covering the eventual top 10.

Verstappen went fastest with his final lap of the segment, while in contrast, Red Bull teammate Alex Albon was only 12th and almost four-tenths slower.

The frantic dash to make Q3 saw Charles Leclerc put in a brilliant effort for Ferrari to push Esteban Ocon down to 11th.

Behind Albon, Sebastian Vettel couldn't match his Ferrari teammate in 13th, while Antonio Giovinazzi was 14th.

A disappointing session though saw Lando Norris fail to get a clean lap, meaning the McLaren will start 15th.


The first run sees Verstappen set the pole benchmark in a 53.5s, just 0.022s ahead of Leclerc, who produced another remarkable lap.

20036 sakhir gp quali

Having initially gone for used softs on their first run, Mercedes came alive in their second run on fresh tyres, with Bottas setting a 53.377s to claim P1 provisionally by almost a tenth-and-a-half from Russell in P2.

On the final attempt, Valtteri was unable to improve, but George would in Sectors 2 and 3 albeit not quite by enough to dethrone his teammate.

Verstappen secured third as Leclerc's single run in Q3 was enough to maintain fourth for Ferrari.

Sergio Perez quietly impressed in fifth as AlphaTauri's impressive weekend carried into qualifying with Daniil Kvyat sixth and Pierre Gasly ninth.

Daniel Ricciardo was seventh with Carlos Sainz eighth as Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10 for Racing Point.

Full results from qualifying can be seen below: