Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying: It's a FERRARI front row

Ferrari mechanic Francesco lies on the ground after being hit by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen during a pit stop at the

Ferrari mechanic Francesco lies on the ground after being hit by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen during a pit stop at the

Max Verstappen squeezed Hamilton too hard exiting Turn 1 after passing him at the start of the second lap damaged his left-rear wheel, which caused a puncture.

Lewis Hamilton, who went into the weekend favourite for victory after having seen it snatched away by an ill-timed virtual safety auto two weeks ago at the season-opener in Melbourne, was only fourth fastest, 0.823 seconds off Raikkonen's best.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo put in a scorcher of a lap to be fifth and just a few tenths off the pace from Hamilton, showing how fast his auto is this season.

Verstappen's auto lost power and stopped on the track in the first session. The young driver managed to start fifth in the race and took his first ever points, a big boost to both Torro Rosso and Honda power. There were also celebrations at Sauber, with Sweden's Marcus Ericsson finishing ninth for his first points since 2015 and the Swiss team's first of the season.

Ricciardo ran fourth but pulled off on only the second lap of the race when his auto shut down due to a suspected electrical engine issue - mere moments after Verstappen sustained a puncture when he brushed wheels with Hamilton at Turn 1.

Red Bull also has a good vehicle this weekend, but their engine supplier in Renault don't have the power surge mode in Qualification as Ferrari and Mercedes. Red Bull's troubles were doubled as Daniel Ricciardo, who was running fourth, parked his RB14 on the side of the track.

A tense and dramatic knockout ensued, with Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean both setting identical times of 1:30.530 - but because the Spaniard set his time first he ensured Grosjean stayed in the drop zone. The Grove outfit face a miserable Sunday starting from P18 and P20 respectively and seem a shadow of their former World Championship-winning selves. The Mercedes seems to be more comfortable on this compound in comparison to the supersofts, evidence that tyre overheating could be an issue of the W09. Gasly delivered the exact same message to the jubilant Toro Rosso team at the end of the Bahrain GP where he finished well over half a minute ahead of Alonso who was eighth in his McLaren-Renault.

Brendon Hartley fell agonisingly short of reaching Q3 and will start from a still impressive P11.

Hamilton's Mercedes team revealed that the British driver suffered a hydraulics leak at the curtain raiser in Melbourne, adding that he was even fortunate to finish the race.

Saturday's pole was the 51st of Vettel's career and third in Bahrain. That was quite intense.

"Hopefully I'll be able to get up to at least where Ricciardo is and overtaking from then on is going to be very tough". I really tried to keep it as clean as possible. "The vehicle has been excellent all weekend".

"These tyres were done, done, in the last 10 laps", a jubilant Vettel told his team over the radio after he took the chequered flag. Given how good the rest of the cars such as Haas, McLaren, Renault and Force India have the Frenchman's blistering pace earned him plaudits from everyone. "Obviously less so in the evening sessions but still, we have work to do".

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