Verstappen’s on pole as he bids to end barren run in Bahrain

Formula One champion Max Verstappen’s in the right place to win the Bahrain Grand Prix for the first time as he starts Sunday’s season-opener from pole position. The desert track has been barren for Verstappen who retired three times in his first four races there. He seemed cursed in Sakhir last year when his Red Bull car failed him just laps from the end and Ferrari clinched a 1-2. Verstappen says “hopefully no crazy things will happen.” He starts on the front row with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. He beat Charles Leclerc under the floodlights. Carlos Sainz Jr. was fourth for Ferrari. Veteran Fernando Alonso took fifth for Aston Martin ahead of Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.