Charles Leclerc of Ferrari secured pole position for Sunday’s season-opening Grand Prix in Bahrain as world champion Max Verstappen had to settle for second place in qualifying.
Leclerc was 0.123 seconds faster than Red Bull’s Verstappen while Carlos Sainz will start third on the grid in the second Ferrari.
“It feels good! The last two years have been incredibly difficult for the team,” said Leclerc, who took the 10th Formula One pole of his career.
“I think we have worked extremely well as a team, very happy with today. I wasn’t completely happy with my driving but managed to do that lap in Q3 and we start from pole, so very happy.”
Sergio Perez qualified fourth in the second Red Bull ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fifth. The seven-time world champion was a distant 0.680sec off the pace in his Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas came sixth in his first qualifying session for Alfa Romeo since leaving Mercedes at the end of last season.
Kevin Magnussen, back at Haas after replacing Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, took seventh ahead of Fernando Alonso in his Alpine car.
Hamilton’s new Mercedes team-mate George Russell was ninth fastest and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri completed the top 10.