Vettel won the pole in Bahrain

The desert track's warmer temperatures and longer straights most likely played to the Scuderia's strength, but that should take nothing away from Vettel, who beat teammate Kimi Raikkonen to pole position by 0.143s. Raikkonen (Ferrari), 3. Bottas (Mercedes), 4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.440s 6. He was 1.371 seconds adrift of pole position, however, the sharp end of the grid is not what Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost would be looking at.

The surprise of the opening day was the performance of the Haas team to challenge for the fourth-fastest team on the back of two strong showings from Romain Grosjean. Ocon (Force India), 9.

Teammate Lewis Hamilton was an off-colour fourth, 0.262 seconds off Vettel's pace, but the Briton is carrying a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change and will start ninth.

"I agree that we were not having the pace this weekend that we've been expecting coming here but we also didn't have anything new since Melbourne", he said.

"Before it was all pretty much in the dark", Wolff admitted. In Australia it was more of a fight but the auto was responding so I am very pleased.

"The red cars were too quick so we're not happy with that", Bottas said.

But Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, failed to improve on his final run as he struggled to find a response to his teammate's effort. "Tomorrow is the main thing - that's when we get the points".

He added: "Ferrari are just quicker in general everywhere".

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Meanwhile McLaren's racing director, Eric Boullier, has promised a "big investigation" after his team failed to make it into the top 10.

McLaren entered the season with high hopes after switching to Renault engines, following three troublesome seasons with Honda.

However, they were off the pace as Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne missed out.

"We were better in Australia and we need to understand why we were not quickest today". The balance is fine, there is a lack of grip but the drivers don't complain about anything else.

The one good thing to come out of the meeting however is that at least everyone now knows what is on the table, though few are commenting on claims that the proposals are not up for discussion and that teams (and manufacturers) can not cherry-pick the bits the like and reject the bits they don't.

Williams are in even more trouble - Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were 18th and 20th respectively, a poor result for a once-great team that finished third in the championship as recently as 2015.

Red Bull's Verstappen turned the airwaves blue with a volley of swear words over the team's radio as he lost control of his vehicle on the exit of Turn Two and slammed into the barriers. He span his auto after pushing too hard early on in Melbourne two weeks ago and finished sixth.

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