Hamilton pips Rosberg to Bahrain pole by 0.077s

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix with an impressive final lap which pipped Nico Rosberg by 0.077s.

The elimination-style qualifying system put some pressure on Hamilton after he made a mistake at the final corner on his first run in Q3, leaving him in fourth place. That ensured the top four - both Mercedes and Ferrari drivers - all went out for a second run and Hamilton delivered a 1:29.493 to take pole.

Rosberg was last over the line and improved himself having been provisionally on pole position after his first run, ending up 0.077s slower than his team-mate. Sebastian Vettel will start from third after being half a second off the lead Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

Once again Q3 ended prematurely but there was at least four cars fighting for pole at the end of the session after Ferrari closed the gap on Saturday. Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg - fifth to eighth respectively - all only had time for one run.

The second part of qualifying failed to excite as most drivers opted to complete only one run. Having had a difficult qualifying in Australia and failed to start the race, Daniil Kvyat was eliminated in 15th place before Stoffel Vandoorne impressed by beating team-mate Jenson Button and Esteban Gutierrez.

The two McLarens and Gutierrez could not do a second run, but Romain Grosjean and the two Toro Rossos - sitting eighth, ninth and tenth respectively - all stayed in the pits, leaving only Nico Hulkenberg to do a second run. The result was a poor spectacle as one car attempted to progress with half of the session still remaining. Hulkenberg did manage to set the eighth quickest time to earn a spot in Q3, eliminating Grosjean in ninth place.

Q1 on the other hand again provided plenty of action as both Ferrari and Mercedes lined up at the end of the pit lane ahead of the start of the session. All four secured safe passages while Felipe Nasr was first to drop out for Sauber as Manor's impressive pace from Friday continued.

Rio Haryanto only had time for one run and was eliminated in the garage, before Jolyon Palmer's attempts to escape elimination lasted only a few seconds. Palmer improved to 18th but was followed over the line by Vandoorne who also improved and demoted the Renault to 19th. Palmer's team-mate Kevin Magnussen was next to be knocked out having only attempted one run in the knowledge he will start from the pit lane.

Sergio Perez was a shock elimination having failed to give himself enough time to complete his lap - with the final time good enough to progress in to Q2 but coming after the 90-second timer expired. The most impressive lap of Q1 came from Pascal Wehrlein, who set the 16th fastest lap and beat Marcus Ericsson's Sauber with his final attempt.

AS IT HAPPENED: Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

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Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:31.391 1:30.039 1.29.493
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:31.325 1:30.535 1:29.570
03 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:31.636 1:30.409 1:30.012
04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:31.685 1:30.559 1:30.244
05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:31.403 1:31.122 1:30.854
06 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:31.672 1:30.931 1:31.153
07 Felipe Massa Williams 1:32.045 1:31.374 1:31.155
08 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:31.987 1:31.604 1:31.620
09 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:32.005 1:31.756
10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:31.888 1:31.772
11 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:31.716 1:31.816
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:32.472 1:31.934
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:32.118 1:31.945
14 Jenson Button McLaren 1:31.976 1:31.998
15 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:32.559 1:32.241
16 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:32.806
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:32.840
18 Sergio Perez Force India 1:32.911
19 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:33.181
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:33.438
21 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:34.190
22 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:34.388