RACE DEBRIEF

    Charles Leclerc grabbed the first pole of the year for Ferrari, in a thrilling fight that at times looked to be going the way of his team mate. Max Verstappen had looked the pick of the bunch after topping FP3, but in the end had to settle for splitting the two Ferrari cars.

    But as for his great rivals from last year, Mercedes couldn’t find the pace to fight for the front spots, with Lewis Hamilton sharing the third row on the grid with his former team mate Valtteri Bottas. With the new regulations shaking up the order, there were an awful lot of eyebrow-raising results out there tonight.

    Here are the best facts and stats from the first qualifying of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix...

    • Charles Leclerc scored two poles last season for Ferrari, and this is his second in Bahrain after starting P1 back in 2019.

    • Max Verstappen starts second – and last year, the race was won from P2 on the grid.

    READ MORE: Leclerc takes stunning Bahrain pole for Ferrari ahead of Verstappen and Sainz

    • Carlos Sainz’s third means two Ferrari cars start in the top three for the first time this decade.

    • Sergio Perez starts fourth, having qualified in that position seven times last season.

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    Not quite for Sainz, who has yet to take a pole position in Formula 1

    • Lewis Hamilton is fifth, and nobody has won on the ‘normal’ Bahrain track layout from outside the top four on the grid.

    • Fifth is also Hamilton’s worst Q3 performance here since 2009 – he has started lower twice, but due to grid penalties.

    • Valtteri Bottas starts in the top six for the 10th consecutive time in Bahrain.

    • The Finn’s P6 grid slot is also the best start for Alfa Romeo since Kimi Raikkonen’s sixth at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix.

    • Bottas has out-qualified George Russell, the driver who replaced him at Mercedes.

    READ MORE: Wolff says Red Bull 'in a league of their own' – as Horner admits he expected to be on the back foot in 2022

    • Kevin Magnussen’s P7 was the first time Haas have made Q3 since Brazil 2019, and the Dane’s best qualifying since Monaco 2019.

    • Fernando Alonso qualified eighth, his best start in Bahrain since 2013.

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    Bottas impressed in his first qualifying as an Alfa Romeo driver

    • Russell starts ninth, the same position he finished here for the Sakhir Grand Prix when he was last in a Mercedes.

    • Mick Schumacher was 12th, which is his best ever qualifying for Haas.

    • Lando Norris was the highest of the two McLaren drivers, but his P13 means there are no papaya cars in the top-12 for the first time since Turkey in 2020.

    • Nico Hulkenberg managed to out-qualify Lance Stroll by 0.255s for Aston Martin.

    READ MORE: GALLERY: Check out the F1 drivers’ 2022 helmets – including Lewis Hamilton’s new fluorescent design

    • Both Aston Martin cars were out in Q1 for the second time in the last three races.

    • Yuki Tsunoda couldn’t make it out of Q1 – having been eliminated at that stage eight times last year.

    • Daniel Ricciardo has been out-qualified by a team mate here for the first time.