F1 Bahrain Grand Prix LIVE RESULTS: Max Verstappen on pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton as season STARTS – latest updates

LEWIS HAMILTON is back as he looks to become the first man in history to win eight F1 world championships.

But he won't be starting on pole today as the F1 season kicks off in Sakir, with Max Verstappen topping qualifying.

  • Race starts time: 4pm
  • TV/ live stream: Sky Sports F1

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Follow ALL of the latest from Bahrain below…

  • Joshua Jones

    GOOD MORNING F1 FANS

    Max Verstappen is on pole for the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver was 0.388 of a second faster than defending champion Lewis Hamilton.

    Hamilton accepts he is not going to have it all his own way this season with the pace of rivals Red Bull.

    Hamilton said: "Congratulations to Max. He did such an amazing job, so fast on that last lap.

    "I absolutely gave it everything I had, but unfortunately it wasn't good enough."

  • Simon Mail

    TAKE SOME 'STAPPEN

    Lewis Hamilton knows he is not going to get it all his own way this season after seeing how tough his title defence is going to be.

    Max Verstappen took pole in the Bahrain GP with a sensational lap that gave Red Bull their first back-to-back pole positions since 2013.

    Lewis Hamilton faces a bigger challenge this seasonCredit: Getty

    Hamilton said: "Every deficit is difficult to take and it is the first race of the season and Red Bull have the quicker car in Bahrain than us.

    "I am proud of how we recovered from the test, that was suboptimal and now the fight is on.

    "If we analysed the regulations and say 'that's it,' then we could not be fighters.

    "We just need to get that car in its sweet spot so it can combat with our competitors."

  • Simon Mail

    MAX POWER

    A reminder of Max Verstappen's reaction to taking pole position for the opening Grand Prix of the season.

    Verstappen held off the challenge of Lewis Hamilton to take first place on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

    Sparks were flying in an electrifying qualification from Max VerstappenCredit: Pro Sports Images

    The Red Bull star said: "We had a good week of testing.

    "There are no guarantees but it's been great so far, really enjoyable to drive.

    "With the wind conditions changing, it's not easy to change the set up of the car but I'm really happy with pole position.

    "My first lap in Q3 wasn't amazing but finally, the balance was there. You have to be careful not to overheat the rear tyres.

    "The car has been steady on the short and long runs, we have a good car. We need a good, clean start."

  • Simon Mail

    POLE POSITION

    Watch Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton give their reaction to qualifying for the season opener in Bahrain.

    Max Verstappen says the whole weekend has been going really well while Lewis Hamilton reacts to starting Bahrain GP in second

  • Simon Mail

    ON YOUR MARKS

    If you listen to most people inside the paddock, there are only small changes to the rulebook for the new season.

    This was supposed to be the radical season that F1's owners, Liberty Media, had hoped would transform the sport.

    The new season starts this weekendCredit: Avalon.red

    But the Covid-19 pandemic and decrease in revenues across the board saw them delay those plans for 2022.

    The biggest change to the aerodynamics is to do with the car's floor.

    Essentially these have been reduced in size so there is less surface area to generate downforce.

    The introduction of a cost-cap, set at $145million or £106million is an F1 first.

    That covers the cost of running the F1 team for a season, but it excludes drivers salaries, the three highest-paid members of staff and marketing costs.

  • Simon Mail

    GREEN FLAG

    Another reminder of course that the season opener gets underway tomorrow afternoon.

    The Bahrain Grand Prix starts at 4pm on Sunday with Max Verstappen on pole for Red Bull.

    Max Verstappen is on poleCredit: Getty

    Will Verstappen be able to hold off world champion Lewis Hamilton and claim victory in the first race of the season?

  • Simon Mail

    CHANGING GEARS

    IT is just 103 days since the final race of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi, but over the winter there have been plenty of changes.

    A total of 12 drivers have moved to F1, or left, or changed teams, that's over half of the grid.

    Fernando Alonso is back in F1Credit: PA

    Some of the biggest stories include Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-times world champion Michael, selected for the Haas team.

    There is also a return for Fernando Alonso with the two-times world champion back following a two-year break.

    How will they get on in tomorrow's season opener?

  • Simon Mail

    NO STOPPING VERSTAPPEN

    All the talk coming in this week was about the pace of the Red Bull.

    And Max Verstappen certainly backed this up with a dominant performance in qualifying.

    Max Verstappen took pole positionCredit: AP

    The Dutchman was quickest in all three practice sessions and the qualifying sessions as he stormed to pole.

  • Simon Mail

    NO SCHU IN

    It was a tough introduction for Mick Schumacher as he ended up 19th – ahead of only Haas team-mate Nikita Mazepin.

    The German was nearly two seconds off the pace of Q1 leader Verstappen.

    It was a tough introduction for Mick SchumacherCredit: Rex
  • Alex Terrell

    HAMILTON REACTS

    The world champ will start tomorrow on the front row and just behind Max Verstappen.

    He said: "Congratulations to Max. He did such an amazing job, so fast on that last lap.

    "I absolutely gave it everything I had, but unfortunately it wasn't good enough.

    "There's always more, but it was the best I could do, I got everything I could from the car."

  • Alex Terrell

    DUTCH COURAGE

    Verstappen tells Sky Sports’ David Coulthard: “We had a good week of testing.

    “There are no guarantees but it's been great so far, really enjoyable to drive.

    "With the wind conditions changing, it's not easy to change the set up of the car but I'm really happy with pole position.

    "My first lap in Q3 wasn't amazing but finally, the balance was there. You have to be careful not to overheat the rear tyres.

    "The car has been steady on the short and long runs, we have a good car. We need a good, clean start."

  • Alex Terrell

    TOP 10

    Here is how they finished after Q3 in Bahrain.

    A handy .388 of a second advantage for Max Verstappen shows just how fast that Red Bull has been.

  • Ben Hunt

    MAX VERSTAPPEN IS ON POLE

    The Red Bull garage celebrate. A fantastic lap.

    Mercedes look shell-shocked.

    Verstappen is P1, Hamilton P2, Bottas P3.

  • Ben Hunt

    FINAL MINUTE

    This is going to be close

  • Ben Hunt

    VERSTAPPEN TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE

    Hamilton looked to have done enough but he has lost out to Verstappen, who has taken provisional pole by just 0.023 seconds.

  • Ben Hunt

    Q3 IS GO – WHO WILL TAKE POLE?

    This is too close to call.

  • Ben Hunt

    PEREZ IS OUT

    A blow for the Red Bull newboy, who fails to reach the top 10. He is bitterly disappointed.

    No such problems for Fernando Alonso, who is into Q3.

  • Ben Hunt

    FERRARI DOUBLE

    Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc pump in two late flying laps on the quicker soft tyre.

    And they take P1 and P2. Nobody saw that coming. They are in to the top 10.

  • Ben Hunt

    FANTASTIC FOOTAGE OF GASLY

    The AlphaTauri man delivers a quality lap to move into the top four. That car is cracking.

  • Ben Hunt

    HAMILTON FINALLY GETS ON TOP

    The world champion tops the timesheets for the first time this weekend.

    Have Mercedes made improvements? Were they sandbagging after all?

    Verstappen in P2, but has damage to the floor of his car.

  • Ben Hunt

    Q2 IS GO

    Busy track. Valtteri Bottas is first out. The majority of the bigger teams opting for the media tyres, which they will start the race on tomorrow.

    But can one of the midfield teams cause and upset using the quicker, soft tyre?

  • Ben Hunt

    Q1 IS DONE BLOW FOR VETTEL – RUSSELL THROUGH

    Those drivers eliminated are: Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi, Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel and Nikita Mazepin.

  • Ben Hunt

    VERSTAPPEN HAS A WOBBLE

    The Red Bull man goes quickest and is looking good at the top of the timesheets.

    But he has just gone wide of the track and now broken some of his floor. Will that have an impact on his lap time for qualifying?

  • Ben Hunt

    SUPER STUFF FROM TSUNODA

    The AlphaTauri rookie, Yuki Tsunoda, has a mega lap and sets the second-quickest time after Max Verstappen.

  • Ben Hunt

    BUSY TRACK

    The pitlane comes alive as cars pull out from their garages. Plenty of early action with just 10 minutes remaining of Q1.

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