SAKHIR, Bahrain (AFP) — Defending double world champion Max Verstappen claimed pole position on Saturday as Red Bull locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
After struggling for balance in practice, the Dutchman and his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez rediscovered their best form when it mattered to ease clear of their rivals led by Ferrari.
It was Red Bull’s first front row lockout in Bahrain, a track where they have not won since 2013, when the recently-retired Sebastian Vettel was triumphant.
The 25-year-old Verstappen’s success brought him his 21st career pole and made a perfect gift to his father Jos on his 51st birthday.
Last year’s pole-sitter and race winner Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz, the Monegasque driver choosing to save a set of tyres rather than make a second final flying