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Max Verstappen

Verstappen: Bahrain GP pole 'unexpected'

The Dutchman eventually took pole position by over two-tenths of a second at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Verstappen Bahrain pole
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Max Verstappen has conceded his pole position for F1's season-opener at the Bahrain Grand Prix was "unexpected".

The three-time World Champion will begin his latest title defence from first on the grid after finishing almost a quarter of a second up on Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Neither Verstappen nor Red Bull had finished top of any sessions across practice before he took pole and addressing his lap, he said: "It was a lot of fun actually.

"The track had a lot of grip but with the wind the last two days it has been quite tricky to put a whole lap together.

"It was the same in qualifying. In Q1 and Q2 you naturally go a bit faster with the track ramping up but to really get everything out of it in Q3 was a little bit more difficult.

"But of course, very happy to be on pole. It was a little bit unexpected but luckily in qualifying, the car came to us and I was a bit happier with the whole car."

Red Bull 'went in right direction'

Explaining how Red Bull turned its fortunes around from practice, Verstappen added: "I said we just needed to fine-tune a few little things on the car to get that perfect balance, even though with the wind that is not possible.

"But luckily, we went in the right direction and we could push a bit more with the car."

Both Red Bull drivers looked to be ahead of the competition during long runs in practice, which suggests Verstappen will be able to dictate from the front.

But he warned: "I think the race is going to be close.

"We do look good in the race, that is the most important but we will see.

"I'm confident that we can have a strong race."

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