New track record! Lewis Hamilton on pole for 2020 Bahrain GP after stunning final lap

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Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Hamad Mohammed

• Lewis Hamilton on pole for 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

• Hamilton set a new track record with his pole time.

• It is Hamilton's 98th pole position in Formula 1.

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Lewis Hamilton took the 98th pole position of his Formula 1 career when he came out on top in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Hamilton looked like a man a mission throughout the hour, and only a mistake could prevent him from taking the top spot. Behind him, Mercedes-AMG team mate Valtteri Bottas will start in second place, with Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen in third.

It is the eleventh time this season that Mercedes locked out the front row in qualifying.

The sessions

The session began rather uneventfully with drivers venturing out on track under a cloud of darkness in Bahrain. With the floodlights beaming on the cars, drivers treaded their way around the track before gunning it and finding their way out of the first qualifying session. The biggest surprise of the session was Williams driver George Russell, who lifted his car out of Q1 and into Q2. Russell has beaten his team mate Nicholas Latifi in every qualifying session this season.

In Q2, the biggest shock, if we can call it that, was the elimination of the two Ferrari drivers. Sebastian Vettel qualified in 11th place, with Charles Leclerc in 12th. Both drivers struggled to find good pace and ended the session more than 1.5sec off Hamilton's Q2 time. Three minutes into the session, McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr. lost his car's rear coming down the home straight. It brought out the red flag as marshalls had to remove the stricken car from the track.

In the final part of qualifying, it came down to Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen. It seemed that the Red Bull man could topple his Mercedes rivals, but the Mercedes' pace was just too much for the energy drink's company. En route to his record-extending 98th pole position in F1, Hamilton set the fastest time around the Shakir racetrack - a new track record with a 1:27.264.

The race takes place tomorrow at 16:00, SA-time.

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