Valtteri Bottas announced his arrival at the Mercedes team by grabbing his first ever pole position in Formula One by beating teammate Lewis Hamilton by 0.023 seconds. The Finn was on pole for the first time since Heikki Kovalinen beat the Briton in Silverstone in 2008 during their time with McLaren.
Sebastian Vettel, who was tipped to challenge the Silver Arrows cars for pole this weekend, had to settle for third place and was perplexed after the session over the half a second gap the Mercedes cars had over Ferrari.
Red Bull racing have clearly made a step forward since the race in China after Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. They were reserved in their expectations on Friday, but have clearly found performance after being over a half a second behind the leading teams in the last two races.
Renault took the plaudits for being the best of the rest in qualifying after Nico Hulkenburg backed up his strong showing during the practice sessions to qualify seventh. Both the French manufacturers' cars made it to the top 10 with Jolyon Palmer coming home in tenth. The two Renault cars were split by Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean in eighth and ninth respectively.
Pascal Wehrlein impressed in his first qualifying for the Sauber team after qualifying in 13th place ahead of the two Force India's, Fernando Alonso and Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz. The German had missed the last two races due to lack of fitness owing to back injury sustained earlier in the year.
Where to watch live
The race starts at 4pm BST on Sunday (16 April), with Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD providing live TV coverage.
Real-time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport's official website.
Results of qualifying session from the Bahrain International Circuit:
|4||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||1:29.545|
|6||MAX VERSTAPPEN||RED BULL RACING||1:29.687|