'Going to be nuts': Max Verstappen stuns Lewis Hamilton before season opener

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Red Bull's Max Verstappen (pictured) shaking hands after clinching pole position at the Bahrain GP.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen (pictured) clinched pole position ahead of Lewis Hamilton for the F1 season opener in Bahrain. (Getty Images)

Max Verstappen has claimed his fourth career pole as he finished ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to clinch pole position in tomorrows F1 season opener.

Red Bull's Verstappen edged out world champion Hamilton by 0.39 seconds on his final attempt to clinch pole in tomorrows Bahrain GP.

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"The whole weekend has been pretty good so far," Verstappen said.

"We knew what our weaknesses were last year and it looks like we've addressed them."

Verstappen praised Honda for improving the car's reliability ahead of the first race of the season.

"Honda have worked really hard to improve their engine," he said.

"Their turnaround has been really good and their understanding of the engine is impressive. They are just flat out all the time and want to win."

Fans were excited to see Red Bull and Verstappen start the season in strong form, which could signal a push to challenge Mercedes and the dominant Hamilton in 2021.

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Verstappen praises Bahrain qualifying effort

Verstappen showed his appreciation to his team ahead of the first race after a strong start.

"YES BOYS. It all worked out perfectly in qualifying! I’m really happy with pole position," he wrote.

"Great job, by the whole team."

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was .59 seconds behind Verstappen in third, while Charles Leclerc qualified in an encouraging fourth for Ferrari.

Second placed qualifier, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks during a press conference after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 27, 2021 in Bahrain.
Second placed qualifier, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks during a press conference after qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 27, 2021 in Bahrain. (Photo by XPB Images - Pool/Getty Images)

In another good sign for Honda, Pierre Gasly was fifth for AlphaTauri, which also uses their engine.

Verstappen clinched the season-ending Abu Dhabi last December from pole and now goes for the 11th win of his career. Hamilton seeks a record-extending 96th win.

"We knew it was going to be a challenge, a bit of an uphill slog," Hamilton said.

"Congratulations to Max. I gave everything I had."

with AAP

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