Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Begins Season With Bahrain Pole

It’s a new season in Formula 1, but the results seem to be much the same.

Max Verstappen took the pole for the opening round of the 2024 season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, on Friday, March 1.

It was a bit of a surprise in that Red Bull Racing had struggled with one-lap pace this weekend.

Charles Leclerc was the closest behind the Dutchman and will start alongside him on the front row in second.

“It was a lot of fun, actually.” Verstappen said in the F1 Media podium interview. “The track had a lot of grip. The wind, the last couple of days, has made it tricky to get a whole lap together. It was the same in qualifying; Q1 and Q2 you could actually go a bit faster with the track ramping up. But to get everything out of it in Q3 was a little bit difficult, but of course, happy to be on pole.”

George Russell was able to be the best of the rest, qualifying in third, and seemed to be happy with how his Mercedes is this year.

“Everyone up in the factory have done a phenomenal job to give Lewis [Hamilton] and I a car that we feel much happier with,” Russell said. “A base set we can build upon. Ultimately, Max is still out there up front. We still got some catching up to do.”


There were no issues in this round of qualifying. Fernando Alonso only made one lap, as Aston Martin Aramco decided to save a set of soft tires for the race.

Pos.Driver No.DriverTeamTime from Leader
1.1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:29:179m
2.16Charles LeclercFerrari+0.228s
3.63George RussellMercedes+0.306s
4.55Carlos SainzFerrari+0.328s
5.11Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT+0.358s
6.14Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes+0.363s
7.4Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes+0.435s
8.81Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes+0.504s
9.44Lewis HamiltonMercedes+0.531s
10.27Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari+1.323s


There were no issues, except that Kevin Magnussen had his fastest lap top deleted due to exceeding track limits. The Haas driver ended up qualifying 15th by a country mile.

Pos.Driver No.DriverTeamTime from Advancing
11.10Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT+0.007s
12.18Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Merecedes+0.078s
13.23Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes+0.099s
14.3Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT+0.156s
15.20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari+0.417s


There were no issues in this round of qualifying. The Alpine drivers have begun this season off on the wrong foot, qualifying both cars in the last row on the grid on pure pace.

Pos.Driver No.DriverTeamTime from Advancing
16.77Valtteri BottasKICK Sauber Ferrari+0.110s
17.24Zhou GuanyuKICK Sauber Ferrari+0.111s
18.2Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes+0.124s
19.31Esteban OconAlpine Renault+0.147s
20.10Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault+0.302s

We are now officially within the Formula 1 season after a long winter. This year’s first two races will be unique in that they will be contested on Saturdays instead of Sundays. Lights out for round one, the Bahrain Grand Prix, will come at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 2. Coverage will be on ESPN.

About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

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