Valtteri Bottas in action during Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying
Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap-times in both of Friday's practice sessions but it was Red Bull's Max Verstappen who excelled in the final dash before qualifying, overcoming the windy conditions to set the quickest lap.
The high track temperatures have made it difficult for teams to record much usable data as the tyres overheated beyond optimal operating temperatures to give qualifying an element of blindness for all the teams.
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying one results
Eliminated: Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), Sergio Perez (Force India), Kevin Magnussen (Haas).
The main surprise was the impressive Carlos Sainz, who drove brilliantly in China, but having gone fastest in sector one his car stopped in the final part of the lap. The Spaniard said he "lost power" and was eliminated in 16th place.
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Esteban Ocon had a problem with his DRS rear wing and was forced to return to the pits where his Force India crew were able to fix it and he snuck through by four tenths of a second.
Romain Grosjean crashed in Saturday practice and had been complaining of problems with oversteer and then braking but he was able to produce a lap worth of a place in Q2.
However, his team-mate Kevin Magnussen was not able to replicate his pace.
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying two results
Eliminated: Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Lance Stroll (Williams), Esteban Ocon (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber).
The story of Q2 was the pace of Jolyon Palmer, who got into Q3 for the first time in his F1 career.
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Bahrain Grand Prix Q2 results
His Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg also produced a fine lap, the fifth fastest of the session, to put both cars into the final session.
Lance Stroll had some technical issues and was sent out in the Williams with just one chance to set a qualifying time.
And the young Canadian made a small mistake in the final corner which saw him drop out of the top 10.
Fernando Alonso did not set a time in the second session of qualifying after arriving back in the pits with the engine off during Q1 as the McLaren-Honda struggles continued.
Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying three results