Vettel takes pole in Ferrari lockout, Hamilton to start ninth

Sebastian Vettel was was 0.143 seconds quicker than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari locked out the front row in Bahrain.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel   -  Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel will start the Bahrain Grand Prix on pole after Ferrari pulled off a front-row lockout and Lewis Hamilton could only secure ninth spot on the grid.

Vettel won the season-opening race in Australia last month and gave himself a great opportunity to secure back-to-back victories at the Sakhir track.

Kimi Raikkonen was quickest for Ferrari under the lights in practice on Friday and again in FP3, but Vettel was 0.143 seconds faster than his team-mate when it mattered on Saturday to end Mercedes' run of five consecutive poles in Bahrain.

Vettel clocked 1:27.958 to take pole, with Valterri Bottas third ahead of his Mercedes team-mate and world champion Hamilton.

Hamilton struggled for pace all day and, after being hit with a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, the Brit will begin back on the fifth row on Sunday.

Daniel Ricciardo will start in fourth due to Hamilton's penalty and the Australian will be Red Bull's big hope for a podium finish after Max Verstappen crashed in Q1.

The Dutchman was furious with himself after losing control at Turn 2 and shunting into a tyre barrier before taking a ride back to the garage on a scooter.

Pierre Gasly exceeded expectations by finishing sixth on the timesheets for Toro Rosso and there was huge disappointment for McLaren, with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne 13th and 14th respectively.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:27.958
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.143s
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.166s
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.262s*
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.440s
6. Pierre Gasily (Toro Rosso) 1.371s
7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1.400s
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +1.612s
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1.916s
10. Carlos Sainz (Renault) +2.028

*Lewis Hamilton will serve a five-place grid penalty.