Max Verstappen will start on the second row of the grid at Sunday’s Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain behind the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and George Russell.
The Dutch driver will start from third on the grid for the ninth time this season, while Aston Martin Red Bull Racing teammate Alex Albon will line up in 12th position.
Russian Daniil Kvyat will begin the race in sixth for Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda with French teammate Pierre Gasly in ninth.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
MAX VERSTAPPEN – 3rd
“Close, but not quite close enough. We can be happy about qualifying, and although we always want more, for us to be P3 on a track like this is pretty good. The gap is very close and it is a bit of a shame to miss out by so little. On such a short lap it was always going to be very tight but I think I got the most out of the lap. For sure both of the Mercedes cars will be quick tomorrow. George is a good driver so we need to take care of both cars to try and win. We are starting on a different tyre to them so it will be interesting to see how it’s going to play out and the start will be very important. Like I’ve said before, we’ve got nothing to lose so it’s better to have a bit of fun tomorrow and see what we can do. I’m looking forward to it.”
ALEX ALBON – 12th
“I’m surprised with today’s qualifying because after FP3 I was happy with the car and it felt like we were on for a good result so to come 12th is frustrating and we need to understand where it went wrong. We decided to only run the medium tyre in practice today to save the softs for qualifying and the car just felt very different between the two sessions so maybe that hurt us. Tomorrow it’s all to play for though and we know overtaking is possible here plus we’re running slightly more downforce than the others so hopefully we’re better on our tyres. Our race pace looked pretty strong on Friday and we also have a free tyre choice so we’ll have a long look at that tonight and see what we can do. We just need to keep out of trouble at the start and then the plan is to fight through the field.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER – Team Principal
“We knew it would be very tight in qualifying and I think Max got everything out of the car, so to lose out on pole by the same margin that Alex missed out on Q3 is encouraging and frustrating at the same time. It’s still third nonetheless and starting from the second row on the clean side of the grid is not a bad place to be. Max also starts on a different tyre compared to both Mercedes and hopefully a different strategy for tomorrow will provide opportunities in the race. It’s frustrating not to have Alex in Q3 and the small margins around such a short circuit mean that the smallest mistake can cost you a lot. The Team will help him understand what happened today and I’m sure he will be looking to make good progress through the field tomorrow. With overtaking possible, we aim for both cars to have a strong race.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
DANIIL KVYAT – 6th
“I’m very happy with today as it was a great session, I would say it’s my best Qualifying of the year. It was very tricky out there with the traffic in the beginning. In Q3 I put in a very tidy lap, kept it clean and cool, and I’m quite proud of myself and how I drove today. As a result, we’re starting from a competitive position tomorrow. We have been strong all weekend here, Friday was also very good, and while this morning I wasn’t too happy with the car, we changed back to what we knew and it was strong again in Qualifying. It will be important to have a solid race, the traffic and tyre management will be interesting, so we’ll do our best dealing with that. Our race pace looks competitive, so hopefully, we can carry the momentum into tomorrow.”
PIERRE GASLY – 9th
“It was a difficult Quali for us today. In Q1 we damaged the floor and from then it was just a messy session. We only just made it into Q3, but it was very difficult because I struggled with the front and had a lot of understeer everywhere. After what we showed in FP3, it’s a bit disappointing to only be P9 in the end. We showed strong pace all weekend but considering all the damages to the car, I don’t think there was much more we could do today. Overall, I think we have a good package, I’m a bit more worried about not breaking other parts on the car tomorrow as the track is quite aggresive, but as for the rest I’m quite confident that we can have a strong race.”
CLAUDIO BALESTRI – Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance
“After a good Friday where we showed a strong level of performance on both low and high-fuel runs, during this afternoon’s FP3 we focused our attention on Quali preparation, using one set of Base and one set of Option tyres. Similarly to all the other sessions here, traffic was extremely difficult to manage on such a short lap, especially in Q1 when we tried to use one set of Prime. However, we weren’t able to set a competitive lap time to see us through to Q2, so we decided to use a new set of Options on both cars at the end of the session. Q2 was a different story, we knew it was going to be difficult, so we decided to use two sets of new Options on both cars at the beginning of the session, which was the right call because once again we were able to make it to Q3 with both cars. We finished today’s Qualifying session with Daniil in P6 and Pierre in P9, despite the fact Pierre had some damage on the car. After a good Saturday, we now switch our focus to the race, ready to score points with both cars.”