Seven – times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix with a record lap in Saturday’s qualifying session, ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas who completed a front – row lockout for Mercedes.
The Briton lapped the 5.4 – kilometre floodlit Sakhir desert track in one minute 27, 264 seconds, boating his Finnish team mate by 0.289 seconds.
Max Verstappen took third place for Red Bull.
It was the 98th pole of Hamilton’s career and puts him on course due to complete a century, with the Bahrain race the first of a season – ending Middle Easter triple-header.
It was his 10pole this season and third in Bahrain, putting him level with Sebastian Vettel as the most successful qualifier at the Sakhir track.
‘You know I came today and I was like, let’s just have fun and enjoy’, said Hamilton, who equalled Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven championships at the last race, in Turkey, two weeks ago.
‘And that’s the most important thing, to enjoy what you’re doing, and with the pressure a little bit off, it’s a bit of a release to go and drive like I just did’.
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