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Red Bull strikes first but leaves room for hope: pole position for Verstappen, with Sainz fourth and Alonso fifth


Almost a decade later, Fernando Alonso has fought a pole position with a really competitive car. And all this in an absolutely hectic qualifying session at the Bahrain Grand Prix, competing to the very end. with the Ferraris and the Mercedeswho were behind the Asturian, fifth to six tenths of the ‘poleman’, Max Verstappen (1: 29.708).

With Sainz fourth and Leclerc thirdRed Bull once again showed itself to be very dominant, but the range of candidates to dethrone them has opened up more than ever, and two Spanish pilots they can turn the ‘Great Circus’ upside down. the race of Sunday in Sakhir (4:00 p.m.) promises more strong emotions, and some surprises.

Q3 was a ‘show’ from before, from the time when Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and company fought every inch of each track in search of pole position and victories. Alonso (41) suddenly became more than ten years younger, just the day he it was the 22nd anniversary of his debut in Australia, and at times threatened the hegemony of the Red Bull and the status quo established during all these years. In fact, his AMR23 has already been able to ‘knock out’ both Mercedes in qualifying… The brand that powers and supplies Aston Martin!

Quite a declaration of intent, especially if we take into account that the long runs of the pre-season tests and the free practice sessions at the weekend showed a simulated race pace between Verstappen and Alonso very even. Besides, the AMR23 has been shown to degrade the tires to a minimum, even less than Red Bull, so the battle in Sakhir is served. one turn, six tenths separated ‘Mad Max’ from ‘Magic’ Alonsobut the races equalize everything, and anything can happen.

One step ahead, Sainz was unable to improve on a Leclerc who did not enjoy two attempts like the rest in the first two rows of the grid. committed the spanish two errors in two attempts that cost him some very valuable tenths, a pity observing the great pace that he had given to Ferrari during qualifying. Even so, he seems to have fewer problems than his Monegasque partner, who he lost a piece of his car in Q1 as soon as he startedalso causing a Red flag.

Once the session reopened, both Q1 and Q2 were a breeze for the Spanish drivers, and for the favorites in general. Even Strollstill injured by the accident he suffered a few weeks ago, signed a very promising eighth place finish, which speaks highly of Aston Martin’s potential. Instead, both rounds served to confirm other not so nice news, especially for McLaren and Alpine.

The French team managed to put ocon ninthstill behind Stroll, and fighting with Hulkenberg’s Haas, tenth, light years away from his teammate Magnussen (17th). However, his compatriot Gasly fell resoundingly in Q1first as 17th, then as ‘bottom’ on the grid after seeing his time canceled for exceeding the track limits. McLaren’s balance sheet was even more negativeconfirming the bad feelings of the preseason, with Piastri 18th and Norris 11th.

The middle zone aims to be tighter than other years, which will undoubtedly affect the show for the better. Alfa Romeo seems to have made a step forward, with Bottas and Zhou 12th and 13th respectively, and Williams 15th in Q2, and rookie Sargeant 16th. Only Tsunoda slipped between the two pairs (14th), also being the best of the Alpha Tauriwhich left De Vries 19th, showing that they are for the moment the least reliable team and completing the grid for Sunday.

Fernando Alonso, fifth for the race on Sunday in Sakhir.
Fernando Alonso, fifth for the race on Sunday in Sakhir.
Getty Images

In short, the swords will be in style in Sakhir this Sunday, with the main novelty of Aston Martin heads-up with Ferrari and Mercedes. Fernando Alonso has shown throughout his 22-year career that in Formula 1, although numbers rule, nothing is impossible.

Dreaming on Sunday, for the first time in too long, is more than allowed, and we can do it double entry. Alonso and Sainz, Sainz and Alonso, will once again have Spain on the edge of the sofa for two hoursone Sunday afternoon, as before, like in the good times. Nothing and no one guarantees victory, or the podium. The champion remains the champion. But nothing, and no one, can stop ‘The Mission’ from taking its course.

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Pole of the Bahrain GP, ‚Äč‚Äčlive: last minute of Alonso and Sainz

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