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Max Verstappen is delighted to be starting the Bahrain Grand Prix on pole position but he insists that it does not guarantee that he will win the race. Red Bull were extremely quick during all three practice sessions as they look to end seven years of Mercedes dominance this season.
Hamilton is hunting his eighth world title but it looks like he will have his work cut out.
The Brit was only able to put together the second-quickest time of Q3, meaning Verstappen will start at the front of the grid.
“Of course we already had a great test week,” the Dutchman said. There are no guarantees coming to the first race weekend but the whole week so far the car has been working really well and it’s just been really enjoyable to drive.
“The wind changing across every session is not easy to set up the car.
“It all worked out perfectly in qualifying so of course I’m very happy with pole position.”
Verstappen feels he could have gone even faster which means Hamilton will have to up his game when the lights go out tomorrow.
“My first lap in Q3 wasn’t amazing so I knew there was some more in it but you’re never sure how much,” he added.
“The balance was there so you could push it a little more. We have a good car so we have to have a nice clean start.”
Hamilton must pass Verstappen if he is to start the new season with a victory, but he is unsure if he can get anything else out of the car,
“Congratulations to Max, he did such a great job,” the Brit said. “So fast on that last lap. Absolutely gave it everything I have, but unfortunately wasn’t good enough.
“There’s always more [pace] but it was the best I could do that’s for sure. I got absolutely everything I could from the car.
“I think we did a really good job from testing, to come here. The Lads back at the factory, they’ve really done such an amazing job, and our aerodynamicist Kim, she’s been giving such great information for us to be able to get the car to where we needed it to be closer to the Red Bulls so, to be that close, considering I think in testing we were further behind.”
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas secured third place on the grid so he will be hoping to apply the pressure early on.
“It was a bit better but Q1 we went out for the second run with the soft tyres so we wasted a tyre set so in Q3 I only had one set of new tyres and it was tricky to compete against Max and Lewis with just one set,” the Finn said.
“It’s obviously not too bad. Not where we wanted to be but at least starting third and starting from there, anything is possible and obviously the aim is for tomorrow.”
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