Sebastian Vettel will start the Bahrain GP on pole and ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas.
The German had a run wide on his first Q3 run but made no mistake on his second lap which the team praised as a ‘lion lap’.
Kimi Raikkonen had been the fastest man all weekend, edging Vettel in all three practice sessions but it was the German that could produce the goods when it counted.
Red Bull’s Max Verstasppen spun the car into the barriers on the exit of turn two in Q2 and will line up no higher than 15th.
His team mate, Daniel Riccardo, faired better however and managed to place his car on the second row of the grid, alongside the unexpected star of qualifying, Pierre Gasly, in his Torro Rosso.
Hamilton, who will be hit by a five place grid penalty because a hydraulic leak forced a gearbox change, could only manage forth quickest.
McLaren will be left scratching their heads and wondering why neither of their cars could reach the final segment of qualifying.
“I’m astonished”, admitted team boss Eric Boullier. “there is need for a big investigation.”
A charring Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull with great race pace could make tomorrow’s race the best of the season so far.