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Max Verstappen starts season with pole for Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen starts season with pole for Bahrain Grand Prix
© Reuters
Defending champion Max Verstappen to start Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix on pole position.

Defending champion Max Verstappen will start Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix on pole position.

The Red Bull driver is looking to continue his dominance in the sport and that was not a foregone conclusion on Friday after encouraging signs from other teams in practice.

However, Verstappen was able to finish 0.228 seconds ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to suggest that he could cruise to victory in Saturday's race.

The gap between the chasing pack was far closer, with George Russell in his Mercedes edging out Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr and Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Fernando Alonso was an impressive sixth in the Aston Martin, starting ahead of the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

There was disappointment for Lewis Hamilton, who is only ninth, with Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg almost a second further back in completing the top 10.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll was the notable name to drop out of Q2, and will start in 12th, with Alpine the back-markers with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly starting behind the Williams of Logan Sargeant.

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