Seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton took his 98th career pole position in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday, with Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside on the front row. “I think with the pressure a little bit off it was a release to go and drive like that,” said Hamilton, who equalled Michael Schumacher’s record haul of seven championships at the last race, in Turkey. “I am on the ragged edge, naturally, and it is about trying to find that perfect balance and chipping away.вЂќ Hamilton’s fastest lap of one minute 27.264 seconds was a track record time. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified third. Alex Albon bounced back from his Friday accident to secure a grid spot alongside third-placed Max Verstappen, with Sergio Perez picking up fifth for Racing Point ahead of Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon. After their brief renaissance in Turkey, Ferrari were once again in the doldrums and neither Sebastian Vettel or Charles Leclerc made it through to Q3. McLaren’s hopes of fighting for third place in the constructors championship suffered a blow when a brake issue saw Carlos Sainz spin off at the start of the second round, leaving him 15th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.