Braced for Bahrain Battle

Daniel put in a superb final flying lap to improve by almost half a second on his opening Q3 time and claim fourth place on the grid for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix. Max meanwhile, qualified sixth as Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas claimed the first pole position of his F1 career.

There were no major dramas for either Red Bull in the opening session, with Max securing smooth passage to Q2 with a time of 1:30.904 that left him second at the flag behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Daniel's opening time of 1:31.667 meant he slid down the order as the final times came in but there was always a comfortable cushion to P16 and he eased through to the second session in tenth place with almost half a second in hand over Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz who was the first man eliminated.

The Spaniard should also have made it through to the second session, as team-mate Daniil Kvyat finished Q1 in P9, but Sainz ground to a halt on his final run with a loss of power and he was ruled out ahead of McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne, Force India's Sergio Perez, Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and the Haas of Kevin Magnussen.

At the top of the order behind Max were Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, Bottas, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, Williams' Felipe Massa and the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer. Both Mercedes drivers and Vettel used only the soft compound tyre during this phase, while the rest of the field set their best times on the supersoft Pirelli tyre.

Key Moments:

  • P4 is Daniel's best qualifying position in Bahrain.
  • Daniel improves by 0.462s on his final run in Q3.
  • Max scores his best Bahrain qualifying spot with P6.

The second session was also a straightforward tale of a single run yielding a solid time for both drivers, after which they retreated to the garage to wait out the final runs. This time Max set a time of 1:30.307, with Daniel just 0.190 behind. That eventually yielded Q3 berths in sixth and seventh places respectively as once again Hamilton topped the times. This time the Briton finished ahead of Bottas, though by just two hundredths of a second. Vettel was third ahead of Raikkonen, while Hulkenberg was fifth. Behind Max and Daniel, Massa took eighth place ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean and Palmer landed the last Q3 spot in tenth.

Grosjean's Q2 best time of 1:30.857 was good enough to push Daniil Kvyat out of the top 10. The Russian might have had the pace to edge his way back into the top 10 but a mistake in the last corner on his final run meant he crossed the line two hundredths of a second behind Palmer.

The Toro Rosso driver was thus eliminated ahead of Williams' Lance Stroll, Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein, the Force India of Esteban Ocon and McLaren's Fernando Alonso who did not set a time in the second session.
Q3 saw Hamilton take provisional pole ahead of Bottas and Vettel, while Max took P5 behind Raikkonen with a time of 1:29.687. Daniel, meanwhile, posted an opening lap of 1:30.007 to take P6.

With Mercedes and Ferrari looking quicker on the day, the Red Bulls might have been content with row three of the grid but Daniel had other ideas.

The Aussie delivered a blistering final run to improve on his opening run by a massive 0.462. That vaulted him up to fourth place in the order, two hundredths of a second ahead of Raikkonen. Max unfortunately could not find more pace after his opening, and he'll line up in sixth place tomorrow ahead of Hulkenberg, Massa, Grosjean and Palmer.

At the front Bottas put in an excellent lap to take the first pole position of his career, edging Hamilton by a tenth of a second. Vettel took third ahead of Daniel.

Get the drivers' reactions to today's session right here.

Quali Stats:

  • Daniel's fourth place is the best qualifying result for the team in Bahrain since 2013 when Sebastian Vettel was second on the grid.
  • Max's sixth place is his best qualifying result in Bahrain.
  • Bottas' first career pole is the first for a Finn in F1 since 2008 when Heikki Kovalainen was on pole at Silverstone.