Taking his fourth pole position of the season with a time of 1:32.571, Lewis Hamilton maintained his perfect qualifying record in 2015 by topping the timesheets in Saturday’s Bahrain GP qualifying session.
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For the second time this season, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will start a Grand Prix from the front row after splitting the Mercedes’ to qualify second with a fastest lap time of 1:32.982.
Qualifying six tenths of a second behind teammate Hamilton and two tenths behind Vettel, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg – the 2014 Bahrain GP pole sitter – will start third on the grid in Bahrain.
Further Illustrating that Ferrari are a real threat to Mercedes this weekend, Kimi Raikkonen filled the first second row spot and will start fourth after posting a time of 1:33.227.
Good Qualifying Session for Williams in Bahrain
Finishing fifth and sixth at the Bahrain International Circuit with respective times of 1:33.381 and 1:33.744, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa enjoyed a productive qualifying session on Saturday and will hope to maintain their pace and push Ferrari for a podium in Sunday’s race.
Fast Sauber Eliminated in Q2
With two points finishes from three races each in 2015, the Sauber tandem of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson couldn’t replicate their qualifying form in China as both were eliminated in Bahrain’s Q2.
Nasr’s fastest lap time of 1:34.737 gave him twelfth on tomorrow’s grid, while teammate Ericsson is just behind the Brazilian in thirteenth after being unable to post a faster time than 1:35.034. Powered by Ferrari, the Sauber car is quick enough for both to make up a few places in the race.
A Mixed Bag for Red Bull in Bahrain
Just like he did in China, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified seventh in Bahrain’s qualification session, but Russian teammate Daniil Kvyat had a terrible Saturday after power issues prevented him from qualifying out of Q1. Kvyat will start the race from seventeenth place.
Car Troubles for Button but Alonso Impresses in Bahrain
Plagued by car issues since Friday’s first practice session in Bahrain, Jenson Button wasn’t even able to complete a lap in Saturday’s qualification session and will therefore start from the back of the grid in Sunday’s race.
McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso, however, had no such issues with his car and even got through to Q2, eventually qualifying fourteenth. Such a place shows that, despite the issues with Button’s car, McLaren-Honda are improving and should be challenging for points finishes by mid-season.
Bahrain F1 Grand Prix Betting
Pole-sitter Hamilton is priced at 1/2 with BetVictor and several other firms, while teammate Rosberg is 6/1 (2 places, 1/3 odds) with Paddy Power. Second on the grid, Ferrari’s Vettel is offered at 3/1 (2 places, 1/3 odds) with Paddy Power and several other bookmakers.
The Bahrain F1 Grand Prix Betting Verdict
Mercedes still have the fastest car and pole sitter Hamilton will probably win, but Ferrari aren’t that far behind and since their car is easier on the tyres in what is a high degradation race, there’s a good chance that Ferrari can take their second race win of the season by taking one pit stop less or just being able to jump Hamilton via a well timed pit stop.
As such, and while I do wonder if backing Rosberg e/w at a juicy 6/1 is a wiser move, I think we’ve just got to take Mercedes and Hamilton on in Bahrain.
Advised Bet: Vettel e/w race winner @ 3/1 with Paddy Power
Tune into Sky Sports F1 from 16:00 on Sunday to watch the action unfold