Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton smashed the Bahrain circuit lap record on Saturday to take pole position ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg for Sunday’s grand prix.
The Briton’s best lap of one minute 29.493 seconds was the fastest ever at the Sakhir track.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen qualified third and fourth for the second race of the season.
The much-criticised new qualifying format was again in the spotlight, still underwhelming if marginally more exciting than the disappointing debut at the Australian season-opener two weeks earlier.
Hamilton is chasing his third successive Bahrain Grand Prix victory on Sunday while Rosberg, the winner in Melbourne, is seeking a fifth win in a row after ending last season with three straight victories.