Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed

F1 news features Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton today

"See what it brings". By contrast, Hamilton was only fifth after an error-strewn session that ended with the Briton a second off Vettel's pace. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0,5304. I think they have a really strong auto. "Hopefully we can make up tomorrow what we lost today".

Row three for tomorrow's race is a Red Bull row, with Max Verstappen in fifth and Daniel Ricciardo, who had just a few minutes in Q1 after his engine blew, scraping in to Q2 but claiming sixth place on the grid in Q3. The Finn then went quicker on his final lap but Vettel proved to have something more when it counted, putting in an exemplary lap of 1.31.095, eight-hundredths up on his team-mate and a new track record.

Elsewhere, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh, ahead of the Force India of Sergio Perez and Hulkenberg's teammate Carlos Sainz. "All these racing drivers know they have to be in the coming team and the team that is showing it's going to be the team for the next era".

Verstappen spun after damaging his vehicle in the opening race in Australia and then retired after contact with Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, and after a third disrupted race says he will try and learn from the hard start to the season.

Another interesting team to watch will be Red Bull. Kevin Magnussen, who starts P11, will nearly certainly start on the soft tyre and should make some progress by running a longer first stint. They were just too fast on the fresh tyres. Despite a management reshuffle and an emergency debrief following a lack of pace in Bahrain, both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne once again failed to progress to the top-10 qualifying shootout, lining up 13th and 14th on the grid. Brendon Hartley qualified a further 0.3 seconds adrift in 15th. They came into the year with high expectations but are already 45 points shy of Ferrari in the World Constructors' Championship standings after a miserable trip to Bahrain saw both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo retire within the first couple of laps.

RBR principal Christian Horner said his team would need a miracle to get the vehicle out in time to qualify, but with three minutes left on the clock Ricciardo left the pit lane to set one flying lap.

Crucially, it was a full second clear of Hamilton's quickest effort.

Ricciardo had been running fifth mid-race when the safety vehicle was brought out to clear up debris following a clash between the Toro Rosso drivers Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley.

Lance Stroll in P18 led the Sauber drivers, with Charles Leclerc, who nearly crashed his vehicle when he ran wide out of the last corner before his final lap, heading Marcus Ericsson by half a second.

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