Lewis Hamilton has qualified third for the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, but the reigning world champion was pleased that he and Mercedes-AMG Motorsport closed the gap to the dominant Scuderia Ferrari.
Ferrari had enjoyed a significant pace advantage over Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas throughout practice in Bahrain. While Hamilton only managed third behind both Ferraris in qualifying, his lap-time of 1:28.190 was just three one-hundredths-of-a-second shy of the front row.
“I really enjoyed Qualifying and it was great to see the progression for us over the weekend,” said Hamilton. “Congratulations to Charles, he did a great job and deserved to get his first pole today.
“We’ve seen strong pace from the Ferraris all weekend long. We’ve worked very hard to narrow that gap, but they were really fast on the straights and that’s ultimately where we lost a lot of the time today.
“Our car felt okay today; I think this track has never particularly suited our car in the past for whatever reason, but I think we got it into a quite good place today, so hopefully it feels good tomorrow as well.”
For the race, Hamilton points to previous race pace as potential to taking the fight to Ferrari and the Brit is relishing the fight.
“It will be a very hard race, physically challenging and tough on the tyres, but our race pace was good last year, so I’m hopeful it will be good again this year. I love that it’s a close and exciting battle, that’s really how it should be.”