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Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying: Latest updates and track times – LIVE!

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finds himself as favourite to land pole for the season-opener after completing a clean sweep across the three practice sessions.

The Dutch 23-year-old on Saturday morning lapped the Sakhir circuit with a best time of one minute 30.577 seconds after going quickest in both of Friday’s sessions.

Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was second-quickest, but a hefty 0.739 seconds slower, with AlphaTauri’s French driver Pierre Gasly third and more than a second off the pace in nearly 50-degree temperatures.

It sets up an intriguing qualifying session in the Gulf, with Verstappen aiming for just his fourth ever pole. After troubles in testing, the FP1 and FP2 did little to dispell doubts over Mercedes.

Mercedes have won the past seven drivers’ and constructors’ championships and Hamilton is now the most successful driver in the sport’s history but this season is shaping up to be much closer.

Follow the qualifying session with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below…

Live updates

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Practice recap

Max Verstappen had the final say in practice, finishing more than seven tenths of a second clear of Lewis Hamilton to lay down an ominous marker ahead of qualifying.

Verstappen will head into the battle for pole having finished fastest in all three runnings at the inaugural round of the new Formula One season. Hamilton was the only driver to finish within one second of Verstappen in the searing 37 degree heat, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly third and Valtteri Bottas fourth.

It will be much cooler when qualifying takes place on Saturday evening, with strong winds also anticipated to have an impact on the action.

Verstappen’s new team-mate at Red Bull Sergio Perez ended the one-hour running in fifth, a spot ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris was second here on Friday, but the British driver finished only 16th of the 20 runners in his McLaren.

Ahead of Norris was Sebastian Vettel in 14th and Fernando Alonso in 15th for Aston Martin and Alpine respectively.

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Welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.


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