The battle between Mercedes and Ferrari is again set to resume in the Bahrain Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel claimed the first and second spots in the qualifying sessions on Saturday.
Although Hamilton managed to secure his fourth successive pole in Sakhir with a time of 1:32.571 in Q3 on Saturday, it looks like he is going to get some competition from Vettel, who managed to finish in second place with a time of 1:32.982, 0.147s quicker than Mercedes Nico Rosberg.
Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished just 0.098s behind Rosberg to claim the fourth position, while Williams pair Valtteri Bottas (1:33.381) and Felipe Massa (1:33.744) finished in fifth and sixth places, respectively.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo finished at seventh place with a time of 1:33.832 followed by Force India's Nico Hulkenberg (1:34.450), Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz (1:34.462) and Lotus' Romain Grosjean (1:34.484).
Hamilton, despite feeling very pleased to secure his fourth successive pole of the season on Saturday, admits that Ferrari are going to be a tough competitor on Sunday.
"It's great to have pole but Ferrari are very quick this weekend and they will be really hard to beat in the race," the Briton told F1's official website. "We're in a good position with these grid slots but we'll need to work hard to make the tyres perform in the right way tomorrow. I'm looking forward to an exciting race."
Vettel, meanwhile, agrees with Hamilton as he feels that Ferrari will be looking to do well in the main race on Monday following his impressive performances in the qualifying sessions.
"I think Lewis said earlier that we will be difficult to beat and I think he's right," the four-time world champion told ESPN. "I'm very happy with second today. It was a tough session. At the beginning I didn't really find the rhythm that I seemed to have in practice but then towards the end more and more it was getting better, I was feeling happier in the car and I felt more comfortable to push."
"For now I'm very happy with the front row and hopefully tomorrow we can have a good start and then a good race from there. In the race we are maybe a bit closer so we will see what happens."
Rosberg, on the other hand, admits that he underestimated Vettel's speed and this resulted in him finishing in third place in Saturday's qualifying.
"I underestimated Sebastian's speed and also how much it would cost me," said the German, according to ESPN. "What I mean is that taking it easy in Quali 2 on the race set of tyres that we start the race with ... I just lacked a rhythm as a result. I didn't get into the rhythm and I just had one shot at it at the end with a new set in Q3, so that's where I went wrong today."
"Disappointed because Sebastian beat me, if I was second then it still would have been damage limitation but third is not ideal."
Last season, Rosburg despite managing to secure the pole position in Sakhir was beaten by Hamilton (1:39:42.743) by 1.085s in a thrilling encounter to triumph in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Force India's Sergio Pérez had, meanwhile, claimed the final podium spot by finishing 24.067s behind Hamilton.
Race Timings: 6 pm - 8 pm local time, 8:30 pm – 10:30 pm IST, 4 pm - 6 pm BST
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