Charles Leclerc has flipped the script on reigning champion Max Verstappen to snatch pole from the Dutchman at the death in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Verstappen had been in a commanding position throughout the weekend, including the early stages of qualifying, but Ferrari had a little extra in hand for Q3, with Carlos Sainz leading Leclerc to a provisional front-row lockout.

Leclerc found time with his second lap, but Sainz couldn’t squeeze any more from a fresh set of tires, gifting his teammate top spot.

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Max Verstappen topped final practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Charles Leclerc in a difficult-to-read session.

The Dutchman was just 0.096s quicker than Leclerc, though both drivers dropped time on their final soft-tire runs. Verstappen locked up at the first turn and opted to abandon the lap for a second attempt, while Leclerc said he was missing performance in the final sector.

Leclerc appeared to be closer to the limit in his Ferrari generally, having spun off the track at turn 11 as he tried to power over the curbs. The gravel trap saved him from a crash with the barriers by feet.

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he first day of official timed action at the Bahrain Grand Prix is in the books, and Formula 1 is finally getting some answers about the real competitive picture for the season ahead.

The answers are good for Max Verstappen and in particular Ferrari. The reigning champion led the way at the end of the all-important second practice session, the only representative hour of running before qualifying, but there almost nothing to split him from the pursuing Ferrari drivers.

The answers were undoubtedly bad for Mercedes. The team must be sick of saying, ‘I told you so’ this week, but it really did tell us not to expect much from the car in Bahrain, and not much is exactly what it delivered.

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Max Verstappen has lit up second practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix, putting Red Bull Racing at the top of the time sheet ahead of both Ferraris.

Verstappen, who was quickest at this track at the end of preseason testing, lowered the benchmark from earlier in the day to 1m31:936s. But he was pursued closely by Charles Leclerc, whose Ferrari was just 0.087s slower.

Leclerc’s best time was set on five-lap old tires and the fifth lap of a qualifying simulation run, suggesting that the C3 compound is holding its own in Bahrain this season. Indeed, the majority of the field completed competitive long-run simulations on the red-walled rubber in the second half of the session, with Verstappen’s race pace in particular looking strong.

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Pierre Gasly topped the first official timed session of the 2022 Formula 1 season for AlphaTauri, leading Ferrari teammates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in first practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Frenchman used the soft tire with around 15 minutes remaining to edge the Ferrari driver to the top time by 0.364s.

“What a lap,” exclaimed his impressed engineer. “That was nice. We get into the mojo now.”

But Ferrari’s pace was more eye-catching, for neither Leclerc nor Sainz, who was less than half a tenth further back, used the soft-compound tire yet were both comfortably within half a second of the lead. Leclerc even had time to spin his car on the red-marked rubber that would carry him to his quickest time and still finish the session second overall.

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Michael Lamonato joined Matt Grubelich to preview the first stop on the F1 calendar in Bahrain. 

Sequels are rarely as good as originals, but in 2022 Formula 1 thinks it might be onto something special.

It’s been almost 100 days since the spectacular but controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton started the race tied on points after 21 rounds of epic racing, but Verstappen emerged a first-time champion after overtaking Hamilton for the lead on the final lap of the race.

Could it possibly get any better than that?

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The memories of the controversial 2021 title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have barely faded, but this weekend new world champion Max Verstappen and the ousted Lewis Hamilton will renew their rivalry for a much-anticipated sequel.

Sky Sports F1 pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz joins hosts Matt Clayton and Michael Lamonato to discuss how the all-new revolutionary F1 cars looked on track at the Bahrain test, whether Red Bull should be considered pre-season favourites and if Mercedes is off the pace, why Ferrari can approach 2022 with genuine optimism, how Daniel Ricciardo will cope with an interrupted preseason and predict who will be this year’s world champion.

We debate the meaning of ton(ne), centilitre and other measurements. Rob assembles his Formula McGinley F1 Fantasy competition live on air but is banned for a profane team name. Michael takes the name Mike Krack in vain.

The Formula 1 pre-season closed in Bahrain on Saturday night, and through the haze of testing uncertainty came one seemingly irrefutable fact: Red Bull Racing is the team to beat.

It’s notoriously difficult to deduce an accurate competitive order from pre-season testing times. It’s impossible to know for certain fuel levels and engine modes, and with lap times being set at different times of day, when the track is in different conditions, no two laps can be directly comparable.

But after six days of testing at two different tracks we can begin to sketch the basic outline of the field ahead of next weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and some undoubted winners and losers are starting to take shape.

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The first of the final three days of F1 testing is in the books, but all anyone wants to talk about is Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows unveiled a dramatically updated package in the Bahrain pit lane, impressing and stoking controversy in equal measure in what could be the sport’s first flashpoint of the year.

Further down the pitlane, Italy’s two teams performed strongly, with Pierre Gasly setting the day’s fastest time, while Valtteri Bottas’s new team, Alfa Romeo, finally got a clean day of running in the books after a difficult first test in Spain.

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Formula 1 closes its pre-season campaign this weekend, with three days of testing beginning Thursday (tonight) at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Just 30 hours of crucial track time remains before the first round of the season, and while some teams will be aiming to build on decent foundations laid during February testing, several others are already playing catch-up thanks to reliability problems.

Once the sun sets in Sakhir on Saturday night we’ll have a rough understanding of the competitive order, but with the first race taking place at this same venue, expect some teams to keep at least a card or two close to their chests for another week.

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Wheel-to-wheel racing, pit wall tactics and an unexpected winner — the Bahrain Grand Prix had it all, and it teased what’s shaping up to be a thrilling season of grand prix racing.

Ten-time Grand Prix winner Gerhard Berger joins us to reflect on his 14-year F1® career, shares memories of his time at Ferrari and McLaren, and reminisce about his two victories in Australia. We also wrap up a dramatic showdown between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the F1® season-opener in Bahrain.

Featuring F1.com senior writer Lawrence Barretto. Lewis Hamilton beats Max Verstappen to the Bahrain chequered flag in a thrilling desert duel, but how did Mercedes manage to beat Red Bull Racing with a slower car?

Lewis Hamilton stays on the track just long enough to win a ripping race in Bahrain. No-one cares about Aston Martin. We forget the names of the Sydney Olympics mascots.

Lewis Hamilton held off Max Verstappen for victory by just 0.745s after a titanic duel at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Verstappen ran different strategies that saw the lead change three times in the pit lane, but brought the pair together for a wheel-to-wheel battle for the final six laps.

The Red Bull Racing car was sporting tires 10 laps fresher than the Mercedes, and Verstappen seemed sure to turn that pace advantage into the win that had seemed certain when he took pole by 0.4s on Saturday night.

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