Hami powers to pole!
Manama : Lewis Hamilton added yet another accomplishment to his long list of achievements in Bahrain. The three-time Formula 1 world champion and two-time winner at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) set a new Qualifying lap record this evening en route to capturing pole position for today’s highly anticipated 2016 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton put himself in prime position to claim a third successive victory in Sakhir and did so in style, leading teammate Nico Rosberg to a Qualifying one-two and locking up the front row for Mercedes.
Hamilton’s record-setting fastest lap was one minute 29.493 seconds, which he registered late in the third and final session of Qualifying (Q3), held under floodlights at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”. He was classified narrowly ahead of Rosberg, who had a best lap of 1:29.570.
Ferrari tandem Sebastian Vettel (1:30.012) and Kimi Raikkonen (1:30.244) were third and fourth, respectively, sealing row two on the grid.
“I was just generally trying to put a good lap together,” Hamilton said. “The car feels great. A big thank you to everyone here and in the factory.”
Hamilton’s new Qualifying lap record eclipses the previous best of 1:29.527 set by Mark Webber in 2005. Hamilton and Rosberg did just enough to thwart a dangerous challenge from chief rivals Ferrari, who had earlier today set the pace in Practice 3. Rosberg congratulated Hamilton for taking pole but remained positive about his chances of adding to his season-opening victory in Australia a fortnight ago.
“Lewis just did a great lap in the end there,” Rosberg said. “My lap felt good for first place, but that wasn’t the case. At this track, a lot of things can happen in the race. There’s going to be a lot of opportunities tomorrow.”
Vettel had briefly led Q3, but was quickly demoted by the Mercedes pair. Still, he appeared satisfied with the result. “Very happy today,” Vettel said. “Very happy with the car. It felt fantastic; it is only natural as the circuit gets quicker.