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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Formula 1: Leclerc and Ferrari get their first pole positions of the season

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Under the spotlight in Bahrain, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc outshone world champion Max Verstappen and world runner-up Lewis Hamilton. Surprisingly, the Monegasque took first place on the grid for the opening Grand Prix in the desert on Saturday in Formula 1 qualifying. Verstappen finished second ahead of Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz. “Yeah baby. I knew he was in the car,” Leclerc said.

Hamilton finished fifth in the Mercedes. Verstappen was happy. “It’s been a good day,” said the Dutchman after the first qualifying session in the brand new cars. Mick Schumacher missed the final knockout round in twelfth place. However, it was his best qualifying result after 14th in Turkey in his debut season in 2021. At turn 11, the Haas driver went slightly off track and was later hugged and comforted by a member of the team.

For Schumacher it started in the last training “with a quite turbulent session”. “I had a feeling the car didn’t fit,” he said. Here and there “a few mistakes happened on the last lap.” He expects points for the race. “I think that’s possible right now,” he said, referring to the correct race strategy. “Mick can really hit the gas now,” announced team principal Günther Steiner.

Mercedes’ current performance is no bluff

Nico Hülkenberg did not survive the first knockout round on his comeback. The short-term replacement for Corona-suffering Sebastian Vettel was 17 in the Aston Martin. “It was great. Of course it was short and to the point. But I’m satisfied with the laps,” Hülkenberg told Sky. Television channel. “Personally, I left everything out. There really wasn’t much left to get, but it wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

Formula 1: "It was a good day": World champion Max Verstappen will start the race in Bahrain from second place on Sunday.

‘It was a good day’: World champion Max Verstappen will start the race in Bahrain from second place on Sunday.

(Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Mercedes’ current performance is no bluff. “I don’t think we can keep up with the leaders based on pace alone,” said team boss Toto Wolff. There are “simple solutions” to get performance back. However, this would only “slowly crystallize”. That is, over the course of the season’s currently scheduled 22 races. “We will do everything we can to better understand the car and find the performance,” Wolff announced.

There is still a lot to do at Mercedes before the determination of the first position on Sunday. Hamilton in fifth place on the grid, his new teammate George Russell in nine: that’s not enough for the constructors’ world champion. And Red Bull? Verstappen set the first daily fastest time of the new year and was also on top in the final practice session. In qualifying, however, he was 0.123 seconds behind Leclerc.

“We have a good base,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who won every world championship title with Vettel as driver between 2010 and 2013. Of course, Ferrari is also involved with Leclerc and Sainz for victory in Sakhir. “It’s very impressive. We’ve been saying all winter that they’re going to be tough to beat,” Horner admitted. The reform of the Formula 1 rules with completely new cars has already ensured that this Grand Prix Sunday will be exciting. More exciting chapters are to follow.

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