Sakhir, Bahrain (SportsNetwork.com) - Defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth pole position in as many races this season after beating Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg in Saturday's qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton posted a lap time of 1 minute, 32.571 seconds during the final round of qualifying for his 42nd career F1 pole, including his first in the Bahrain GP. The Mercedes driver finished 0.411 seconds ahead of Vettel from Ferrari and 0.558 seconds in front of Rosberg, who is Hamilton's teammate.
In Saturday's final practice session, held just prior to qualifying, Hamilton, Vettel and Rosberg placed 1-3, respectively.
"I feel very happy," Hamilton said after he captured his fourth pole in a row this season. "Obviously coming into the weekend that was the target to really kind of master this track and get the car into an area that I'm really comfortable with. That's generally how this weekend has gone."
Hamilton won last year's Bahrain GP after starting second. The first night race here in 2014 was a hard-fought battle between Hamilton and Rosberg, who started on the pole. Rosberg finished one second behind in the runner-up spot.
Rosberg also started on the pole in Bahrain two years ago. He will line up third on the grid in Sunday's 57-lap race here.
"Strategy-wise today, I got it wrong because I was thinking too much about the race," Rosberg said. "I under-estimated Sebastian's speed. I took it easy in (the second round of qualifying) on the race set of tires that we start the race with. I just lacked the rhythm as a result."
Hamilton won last month's season-opener in Australia and this past weekend's race in China. He currently holds a 13-point lead over Vettel, who won in Malaysia, and a 17-point advantage over Rosberg.
"I'm very happy with second today," Vettel said after qualifying. "It was a tough session. In the beginning, I really didn't find the rhythm that I seemed to have in practice. But towards the end of the session, it was getting better. I was happy with the car."
Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari qualified fourth, followed by Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was seventh and Nico Hulkenberg from Force India eighth. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean from Lotus completed the top-10.
McLaren driver Jenson Button failed to set a time in the opening round of qualifying when he came to a stop on the track while attempting his first lap. It was the third time this weekend that Button experienced failure with his Honda-powered McLaren. His car suffered electrical problems in both of Friday's practice sessions. He will start the race from the rear of the field.
"I don't know what happened (in qualifying), but it was similar to what happened on Friday," Button said. "Everything just shut down in the car and there was a loud bang."
Button's teammate, Fernando Alonso, advanced into round two and ended up qualifying 14th.