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Sports

Verstappen takes pole in Bahrain

Agence France-Presse
Verstappen takes pole in Bahrain
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing looks on in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
Mark Thompson / Getty Images / AFP

Sakhir, Bahrain — Max Verstappen delivered some much-needed relief for his Red Bull team on Friday when he resisted Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to claim pole position for Saturday’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The defending three-time world champion picked up where he left off last year by topping the times in a closely-contested qualifying session.

His success, which he admitted was “a little bit unexpected,” arrived after another day of speculation and pressure for team boss Christian Horner, following the anonymous leaking of a cache of alleged private messages and photographs between him and a female member of the team. 

This came 24 hours after an internal investigation had resulted in Horner being cleared of all claims of inappropriate behavior.

Verstappen clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 29.179 seconds to beat Leclerc by 0.228 seconds in the final seconds of the session, securing his third Bahrain pole and the 33rd of his career. 

“It was a lot of fun,” said Verstappen.

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