Winners and losers from 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

Sam Cooper
Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly

Nico Hulkenberg once again proved to be an excellent qualifier.

Max Verstappen took the first pole of the season in Bahrain while a nightmare came true for Alpine.

The first competitive hour of the F1 season is in the books and as with any session, there will be winners and losers.

Of the winners, Verstappen is an obvious one but a certain Haas driver once again impressed.


Max Verstappen

Another year, the same result. Red Bull did not enter qualifying in the intimidating form they spent most of 2023 in and even Max Verstappen was not quite convinced when he crossed the line with what proved to be the pole lap.

But with it being a result so familiar, it is easy to look past the brilliance of Verstappen. Another grid conquered and he is a clear favourite for the race.

Nico Hulkenberg

How does he do it? How does Nico Hulkenberg continue to go above expectation in qualifying?

The German has proven himself a master on Saturday, or Friday as was the case this weekend, and if the Haas car has outgrown its tyre wear issues, he may be able to finally convert his quali spot into points.

That will become clear during the race but for now, the German deserves an enormous amount of credit.

Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc again proved that if there is someone capable of ripping supremacy away from Verstappen, it is him.

The Ferrari man is an excellent qualifier, perhaps even the best on the grid, and starting on the front row is an ideal way to begin the year.

But despite the result, Leclerc seemed downhearted in his post-session interview such is his competitiveness because he believed Verstappen was within reach.

It will be a fascinating start to the race for Leclerc who will know that if he has any chance of victory, he will need to pass Verstappen early on in order to dictate the grand prix.

George Russell

George Russell said it himself but a P3 starting spot in the first quali session of the season is night and day from the ones of the previous two years.

After appearing to struggle for control on occasion and consistently trailing Lewis Hamilton, he leapt up the order to be within a tenth of the front row. recommends

Bahrain Grand Prix: Max Verstappen storms to pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc

F1 2024 qualifying results from the Bahrain Grand Prix



Truth be told, I could have put this one in the loser column even before a wheel was spun. Starting from their launch, the pre-season chat has been beyond gloomy at Alpine and that pessimism was ratified come qualifying.

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon were some of the final drivers to head out in Q1, meaning the track should be at its best and yet they were not able to progress any further up the table.

Gasly will start from the very back with Ocon just one spot ahead and it is hard to see how they avoid anything but a bleak race on Saturday.

Daniel Ricciardo

For all the optimism both RB and Daniel Ricciardo headed into 2024 with, that did not play out in qualifying.

Ricciardo himself had tried to row back on expectation before the race, suggesting points are possible but perhaps not until later in the season, but he would have been disappointed with his P14 starting spot, especially with Yuki Tsunoda up in 11th.

Lewis Hamilton

Having never looked in trouble in Q1 and Q2, Q3 was a let down for Hamilton who finished over half a second off Verstappen.

The Red Bull star may not be a fair measuring stick but Hamilton was well behind team-mate Russell as well.

It was Russell who said Mercedes had the second best race pace and Hamilton will hope that claim is true come Saturday.

Race director Niels Wittich

Away from the drivers and teams, there will be another man who will not be pleased with what he saw during the qualifying session.

After the farcical scenes in 2023, FIA race director Niels Wittich issued new rules to prevent drivers queuing up in the pit lane but instead of cars being stationary, they crawled along at such a slow pace that someone could have overtaken them by walking.

During the session, Zak Brown said it was something that needed looking at and was not a great way to start the season for the sport’s referees.

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