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Kimi Raikkonen rues Q3 traffic after missing out on Bahrain pole

08 April 2018

After qualifying fourth - which will become ninth on the grid once he serves a penalty for a gearbox change in his auto - behind Valtteri Bottas and an all-Ferrari front row, he repeated that viewpoint.

But Vettel made it count when it mattered.

The Ferrari driver, who also had the best lap in second practice on Saturday, clocked a leading time of 1 minute, 29.9 seconds on the 5.4-kilometer (3.3-mile) desert circuit.

The world champion will also take a five-place grid penalty after the team changed his gearbox for this weekend, but Hamilton will start on the harder Soft compound tyre as he looks to make his way through the field from ninth.

"I was very happy with both laps in the end, and very happy with the result and the way the auto was handling and responding", he added.

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Bottas was happy to bounce back after his confidence-sapping crash in qualifying in Australia two weeks ago.

Vettel said: "I am really happy I got the second run and needed to keep away from the kerb but the auto has been excellent all weekend".

In a further boost for Ferrari, the aging Kimi Raikkonen has looked sharp all weekend, leading the second and third practice.

Despite the success of the best time, Raikkonen's second practice session was interrupted early when a loose wheel nut from a practice pit stop lost his chance for a long run.

Back-to-back wins would boost Ferrari in their bid for a first place title since 2007, but with 19 races to follow, they won't get carried away, after Vettel led early last season but Hamilton eventually took the title. Here the track improves all the time, with more grip every lap. I know exactly what I want, and we need to work on it.

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Behind the Ferraris and Mercedes it's Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull, but team-mate Max Verstappen crashed out in Q1 and will start the race in 15th. Gasly (Toro Rosso), 6.

"On the softs, the vehicle were much better, but putting the softer compound on, the supersoft, it looks like we're overheating and therefore not extracting the optimum grip".

Renault continued their solid start to the season with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Carlos Sainz 10th as Esteban Ocon signalled Force India's improvement by making Q3 in eighth.

The surprise performance of the first session was executed by Pierre Gasly who brought his Toro Rosso home seventh quickest in a time of 1:32:779 ahead of both Renaults, both McLarens and one Haas.

Sauber's Marcus Ericsson qualified 15th ahead of Williams' Sergey Sirotkin and teammate Charles Leclerc, who spun off in the final corner of his flying lap.

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Kimi Raikkonen rues Q3 traffic after missing out on Bahrain pole