ICYMI – F1 Bahrain Qualifying LIVE: Mercedes, Aston Martin, Ferrari have no answer to Redbull

Redbull dominates season opening Qualifying session to start at front ahead of tomorrow's race.

8 mins read


In case you missed it: Alonso's pre-season promise falters when it matters

16:19 I’ll be back tomorrow at 14:30. Lights out will be 15:00 keeping you up to date with all the action in the season-opening GP

16:13 So a front-row lockout for Redbull ahead of the sister Ferraris. Mercedes have a lot of work to do and Alonso may have threatened coming into qualifying but ultimately had no chance as he takes 5th ahead of the *silver* arrows.

16:11 Verstappen looking to start the season as he basically took all of last year. Perez takes 2nd, with Leclerc in 3rd having opting not to run again.


16:07 Russell goes 5th with Hamilton 7th. Leclerc is out of qualifying as he leaves his car early.

16:06 Alonso going for it, but it’s not going to be, as he rumbles over the final kerb and slots in 4th, where will the Mercedes be?

16:02 An absolute beast of a lap time as Verstappen goes top with an insane 1:29:897 with Leclerc a 1:30:000 dead.
Mercedes out in brand new softs for a single run

15:59 Here we go!

15:57 Who’s going to take pole then? I can’t see past the Redbull cars. They were imperious in that last session. As much as Alsonso would be a great story, I just cant see it happening.

Commentators curse anyone?

15:53 So in Q3 we have both Redbulls, both Ferraris, both Mercedes, both Aston Martin, and the Haas of Hulkenburg and the Alpine of Ocon

15:51 Out in Q2:

P11 Norris (McLaren)
P12 Bottas (Alpha Romeo)
P13 Zhou (Alpha Romeo)
P14 Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
P15 Albon (Williams)

15:50 Stroll just manages to make it into the next session, pushing Norris out of qualifying.

15:47 1:30 left in the session as they all start to line up their shot at the top ten, except for Albon who’s in the garage and out of Q2

15:45 Stroll misses the weighbridge and is wheeled back by his engineers, potential penalty?

15:43 In the drop zone for the 2nd runs are:

11) Zhou (AlphaRomeo)
12)Stroll (Aston Martin)
13)Ocon (Alpine)
14Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
15Albon (Williams)

15:41 I was about to say that Mercedes found some pace but they are now in 3rd and 4th four tenths behind the Redbulls.

15:38 Q2 is underway. Remember only the top ten go through in this session.

15:35 According to Kravitz on Sky Sports, before Gasly had his time deleted, the whole field was separated from first to last by only 1.2 seconds. That’s a tight field. This bodes well for the season and the on track action.

15:34 Gasly drops down to last as his lap time was deleted for leaving track limits.

15:30 Out in Q1 are:

16) Logan Sergeant (Williams)
17) Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
18) Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
19) Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
20) Nyck De Vries (AlphaTauri)

15:28 Norris scrapes through by no time at all, and I mean that. His time was the exact same to three decimal points as Sargant but because the young Brit set it first he goes through.

15:24 Last minute, final runs! Hulkenburg, Norris, Piastri, Sargant, and Stroll in the danger zone, who is going to survive?

15:23 I think we all feel this one

15:20 As they all head back to the pits to regroup for another run, at the other end of the grid, McLaren are really struggling. Norris in 17th and Piastri in 18th. Half a second away from safety

15:18 They are all really going for it now. Sainz tops the table, followed by Russell, Leclerc, Alonso and then Verstappen.
Only 0.165s separate the top four! Game on for F1 2023!

15:17 Alonso goes a tenth and a half faster than Verstappen!

15:15 Back underway now, just over 10 minutes left on the clock as Verstappen starts his first lap in anger.

15:10 Session will resume in 3 minutes. Also having issues on his first flying lap prior to the red flag, was Leclerc’s teammate, who straddled a kerb and sparks flew as the underbody no doubt took a beating.

15:07 True to form, nothing goes to plan in this sport as the red flag is thrown minutes into the session due to the carbon fibre that flew off Leclerc’s car. Might not just be any old piece, it looks like a piece of the bargeboard which would be a disaster for the Monagasque.

15:05 RED FLAG

15:03 Leclerc is first to attack… and first to abort as pieces fly off his car on the main straight and then locked up into turn one.

15:01 Green light! Here come the first times driven in anger for the new season.

14:58 Here we go, minutes left till this record-breaking 23 race season starts with the first qualifying session of the year.

Will Redbull stay the dominant force with their development penalties for breaching the cost cap? Can Aston Martin keep up their pre-season promise? Can Mercedes find speed now they’ve got rid of the porpoising effect? Will Ferrari still be nowhere on strategy?

Let’s find out!

14:50 Interestingly, going back to 2018, whoever wins the Bahrain GP has not brought back the title by the end of the year. Maybe this is the one race to cheer on the driver you don’t want to win at the end of the year?

14:41 Here’s the final classification for FP3 earlier today, the mean green machine squeezing out the reigning champion.

Image credit: Official F1 Twitter account

14:35 Alonso is threatening to cause a huge upset this weekend having tamed the Redbull of reigning Champion Max Verstappen in practice so far this weekend.

The questions remain going forward though, can Aston Martin keep it up given their new state-of-the-art facilities are not to be completed till the offseason? Will their lightning-in-a-bottle dissipate before the season is truly underway in a few months?

14:30 Welcome to the new season of Formula One.

I’m David King and I will be taking you through live reports, lap by lap, of every qualifying and race session of the upcoming season.

We have a new team this year so our coverage should be much more in-depth with not only our signature live coverage that we trialled in the 2020 season, but new faces have joined in AJ Whyte and Emanuela Scalia, to give you reviews, previews, and gossip through the week between the on track action.

As always we hope you enjoy our coverage and let’s hope for another exciting season.

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Trying to find my voice in the modern digital journalism landscape.
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