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Formula 1: Verstappen takes first pole position of the year

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Formula 1: Verstappen takes first pole position of the year

Qualifying brought a first moment of normality in a wild week – and it was extremely normal. Max Verstappen was already at the top again, the world champion in the Red Bull raced to his first pole position of the year in Bahrain and ultimately fended off the attack from the competition quite confidently.

“That was a bit unexpected, it didn’t fall into our laps,” said Verstappen, who had just relegated Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and George Russell to their places in the Mercedes – but immediately after qualifying he spoke again about the dominant topic should speak in Formula 1 these days.

He was asked whether the Christian Horner case was a distraction and whether the Brit was still the right team boss. “Me, the mechanics and the engineers are fully focused on the car and the race weekend,” said Verstappen.

And to Horner: “When I see how he leads the racing team, he has always been a great team boss. He is fully committed, maybe a little distracted at the moment.”

Formula 1: Horner affair takes on completely new dynamics

A lot of people in the paddock are distracted right now, before the race on Saturday (4 p.m./Sky and RTL) there was hardly any sport at all. Because the affair surrounding Christian Horner, which had already been going on for weeks, took on a completely new dynamic this week.

An employee had accused him of “inappropriate behavior,” and after a long, albeit internal, investigation, a decision was made on Wednesday: the complaint was rejected. The competition then demanded that Formula 1 and the world association FIA take a closer look at the matter. Things really became remarkable on Thursday evening when anonymous emails spread alleged information about the case in the paddock. However, the sender could not be identified and the contents could not be verified.

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“The time has come that we have to concentrate on racing,” said Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director, on Sky before the qualifying: “The FIA ​​now has to see what they do with the information. As a team, we have to switch off now , it’s just gossip.”

Formula 1: Hülkenberg convinced, Hamilton disappointed

Under these conditions, the race is now underway, and there is at least a small hope that it will be closer than last year. The field was very close together for long stretches of qualifying, and at the end of Q1 all 20 drivers moved within a good second. Verstappen was also not at the front all the time; he only turned up the pace in the final section.

Behind the dominator of the past few years, the field is mixed up. Places four, five and six are occupied by Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari, Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin.

Record world champion Lewis Hamilton, surprisingly the fastest man in free training on Friday, only ended up in ninth place, directly ahead of Nico Hülkenberg. The German put in a good performance: for Haas, who came last in the team world championship last year, he made it into the final section of the top 10. In the end, he finished tenth on the grid, while his teammate Kevin Magnussen only started from 15th.

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