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Charles Leclerc disagrees with Max Verstappen as Red Bull star snatches pole for Bahrain Grand Prix


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Charles Leclerc doesn’t share Max Verstappen’s optimism of the Bahrain Grand Prix being a close race after the Dutchman nabbed pole in the first qualifying session of the new season.

All the pressure was on Red Bull’s rivals in the offseason to close the gap to Verstappen after he dominated the entire campaign in 2023.

Early signs in free practice indicated that Ferrari and Mercedes had found something positive to work with heading into qualifying while Verstappen wasn’t all too pleased with his package.

It ended up being a straight fight between the two Ferrari drivers and Verstappen for pole.

Max Verstappen will start the Bahrain Grand Prix on pole

Max Verstappen will start the Bahrain Grand Prix on pole


But Verstappen delivered when it mattered most in the final run in Q3 to snatch pole ahead of Leclerc.

The three-time world champion is now expecting a close fight with Leclerc during the first race of the season.

“The race is going to be close as well. We look good as well but we’ll see tomorrow,” he said.

“I’m confident we can have a strong race.”

But Leclerc believes Red Bull will be the stronger car in the first race of the season and doesn’t expect to challenge Verstappen for the win.

He said: “I’m a bit disappointed, but yeah, we did a good qualifying. It’s been a tricky weekend until now.

“We were trying quite a few things in practice and then I found the sweet spot in qualifying.

“Q1 was a bit tricky. Unfortunately we put on two new sets of softs, which compromised a little bit the Q3, but all in all it’s quite a good qualifying, a good start of the year.

“We are in a better place compared to a year ago, so that is good. Now we have to see the race pace tomorrow.

Red Bull are the team to beat once again

Red Bull are the team to beat once again


“In Q2 I think I did a .1 which was more or less the lap time that Max did in Q3, so it was there in the car.

“I think we lost a little bit the rhythm with the used set of C3 in Q3, then you have to readapt to the new tyres and I lost a little bit there, but all in all it’s been a positive qualy.

“I’m confident we did a step forward but we have to wait and see tomorrow how much of a step forward we did. We really think that Red Bull is still ahead by quite a bit, in the race I mean.


Max Verstappen picked up where he left off from last year

Max Verstappen picked up where he left off from last year


“So we’ll see, but if there’s an opportunity as always I’ll go for it, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

George Russell finished best-of-the-rest as he managed to get his Mercedes up to third ahead of Carlos Sainz.

Lewis Hamilton will start Saturday’s race in ninth after a disappointing final run.

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Written by: radioroxi

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