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FACTS AND STATS: Verstappen ties two greats of the sport as Alpine prop up the field for the first time in years

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Sean Kelly
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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull

Max Verstappen picked up where he left off last season as he grabbed the opening pole for Red Bull, managing to get the better of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari by two tenths of a second. It’s the dream start to his title defence, but while the Dutchman will be going to bed happy tonight, a few other drivers might not be so pleased with their performances. Here are the best facts and stats from a blustery qualifying in Bahrain…

  • Max Verstappen ties Jim Clark and Alain Prost on 33 career poles, for fifth on the all-time list

  • The Dutchman has also won the last 16 consecutive races when starting from pole position, a record streak

  • Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were the two best qualifiers on average in 2023, in that order

READ MORE: Verstappen beats Leclerc and Russell to pole for season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix

  • Leclerc grabbed his sixth consecutive front row start, the longest current streak in F1 as he also out-qualified his team mate for the eighth straight race

  • This is the fourth consecutive race that Verstappen and Leclerc share the front row, in any order

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on

Leclerc lines up alongside Verstappen for the season-opener in Bahrain

  • George Russell was third, having only had one top-three start in the final five races of 2023

  • Russell grabbed his highest ever start on this track layout in Bahrain, having started second on the outer loop for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

  • Sainz was fourth, the same position he started here last year

  • Sergio Perez qualified P5, as he now only has one top-four start in the last 18 Grands Prix

  • Fernando Alonso was sixth, starting one place lower than last year

F1 EXPLAINS: How drivers and teams master the adrenaline-filled start to a Grand Prix

  • Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were seventh and eighth respectively, the first time a McLaren has been in the top 10 here since 2021

  • Lewis Hamilton’s ninth ties his lowest ever start in Bahrain, although the other two instances were due to grid penalties in 2013 and 2018

  • Nico Hulkenberg starts P10 here for the second year in a row

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on

Hulkenberg grabbed P10 for the second straight year here

  • Yuki Tsunoda missed out on Q3 by just 0.007s, having never made the top 10 shootout in Bahrain

  • Lance Stroll has only reached Q3 once in the last 10 races

  • Alex Albon’s P13 was the best grid slot for Williams here since 2017

  • Zhou Guanyu suffered his fourth straight Q1 elimination, the longest run of anyone on the grid

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – Read the all-new digital race programme here

  • Pierre Gasly starts last in Bahrain for the second year in a row, but did manage to finish P9 here last season

  • This is the first time Enstone have had the slowest two cars in qualifying since Azerbaijan 2016 with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer

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