Formula 1

Verstappen Takes First Pole of 2023 at Bahrain Grand Prix

3 Mins read
Image: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max Verstappen has taken the first pole position of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season for Oracle Red Bull Racing, with team-mate Sergio Pérez locking out the front row in second place at the Bahrain International Circuit. Charles Leclerc was able to put his Scuderia Ferrari car in third, despite some late session drama, to produce a somewhat familiar top three.

Qualifying One

Nico Hülkenberg making it out of Qualifying One for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix was the story of the session, with the German driver setting a lap good enough for sixth place in the dying moments. Hülkenberg returns to Haas F1 Team full time for the 2023 season, and out-qualified team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, who was only able to put his car in eighteenth place.

Logan Sargeant was also a talking point of the session, after narrowly missing out on a Qualifying Two appearance in his Formula 1 debut weekend. The American driver set an identical time to McLaren F1 Team‘s Lando Norris, but placed sixteenth due to setting his lap after the British driver. What was a very impressive opening qualifying for the Williams F1 Team driver was also a very close call for the driver in the papaya-coloured car.

Pierre Gasly also surprised the paddock in his BWT Alpine F1 Team debut, only setting a time good enough for seventeenth in Qualifying One. The day would get worse for the Frenchman after a track limits mistake would delete his lap and drop him to the back of the grid, promoting Magnussen up to seventeenth, Oscar Piastri to eighteenth and Nyck De Vries to nineteenth.

Qualifying Two

The second qualifying session of the year would see an early exit for McLaren, as Norris is pushed out of the top ten in the final moments of the session by Lance Stroll. The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team driver recently made headlines after missing pre-season testing as a result of some wrist injuries sustained in a training accident. The Canadian did an excellent job to make it into the final session of qualifying just weeks after his accident.

Norris will start Sunday’s race from eleventh place, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou of Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN, who failed to make it into the final session. Yuki Tsunoda would also bring an early end to qualifying for Scuderia AlphaTauri, only being able to place his car in fourteenth. Alexander Albon was the final driver to finish in Qualifying Two.

Qualifying Three

The final session of qualifying was a rather impressive one for Aston Martin, who were able to line up their cars in fifth and eighth places on the grid for Sunday’s main event. Fernando Alonso, who has been quick all weekend, put an excellent effort in to finish ahead of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team pairing, while Stroll put in a strong performance with his circumstances to line up on the fourth row.

Mercedes are still not quite at the front with their latest W14 car, with George Russell out-qualifying Lewis Hamilton under the lights of Bahrain. Russell will start alongside Alonso in sixth place, with his fellow Briton just behind in position seven. Esteban Ocon will start in ninth place, while Hülkenberg impressively starts in tenth place for Haas.

Leclerc caused some controversy at the end of the session, choosing to get out of the car in the final minutes and opt to not drive his final lap. Despite this, the Monégasque was able to out-qualify team-mate, Carlos Sainz, who will start in fourth. The Ferrari driver’s reasoning for not setting a lap time was due to saving tyres and choosing to have a fresh set for the race.

You can find the full results from qualifying below, data courtesy of Formula 1:

POSNO.DRIVERCONSTRUCTORNATQ1Q2Q3
11Max
Verstappen
Oracle
Red Bull
Racing
NED1:31.2951:30.5031:29.708
211Sergio
Pérez
Oracle
Red Bull
Racing
MEX1:31.4791:30.7461:29.846
316Charles
Leclerc
Scuderia
Ferrari
MON1:31.0941:30.2821:30.000
455Carlos
Sainz
Scuderia
Ferrari
ESP1:30.9931:30.5151:30.154
514Fernando
Alonso
Aston Martin
Aramco
Cognizant
Formula One
Team
ESP1:31.1581:30.6451:30.336
663George
Russell
Mercedes-AMG
Petronas
Formula 1
Team
GBR1:31.0571:30.5071:30.340
744Lewis
Hamilton
Mercedes-AMG
Petronas
Formula 1
Team
GBR1:31.5431:30.5131:30.836
818Lance
Stroll
Aston Martin
Aramco
Cognizant
Formula One
Team
CAN1:31.1841:31.1271:30.836
931Esteban
Ocon
BWT Alpine
F1 Team
FRA1:31.5081:30.9141:30.984
1027Nico
Hülkenberg
Haas
F1 Team
GER1:31.2041:30.809DNF
114Lando
Norris
McLaren
F1 Team
GBR1:31.6521:31.381
1277Valtteri
Bottas
Alfa Romeo
F1 Team
ORLEN
FIN1:31.5041:31.443
1324Guanyu
Zhou
Alfa Romeo
F1 Team
ORLEN
CHN1:31.6151:31.473
1422Yuki
Tsunoda
Scuderia
AlphaTauri
JAP1:31.4001:32.510
1523Alexander
Albon
Scuderia
AlphaTauri
THA1:31.461DNF
162Logan
Sargeant
Williams
F1 Team
USA1:31.652
1720Kevin
Magnussen
Haas
F1 Team
DEN1:31.892
1881Oscar
Piastri
McLaren
F1 Team
AUS1:32.101
1921Nyck
De Vries
Scuderia
AlphaTauri
NED1:32.121
2010Pierre
Gasly
BWT Alpine
F1 Team
FRA1:32.181
Data courtesy of Formula 1.
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Joe McCormick is a 20-year old Formula 1 journalist and writer from Devon, who loves everything F1!
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