Picture: Karim Sahib / AFP.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas took his first Formula One pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday to end Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton's bid for a seventh in a row.

Triple world champion Hamilton qualified alongside, a mere 0.023 slower than Bottas's lap of one minute 28.769 seconds, to secure the first front row lockout of the season for the reigning champions.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, joint leader of the world championship standings with Hamilton after two races, will start in third place with Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo fourth.

Mercedes, which won the race last year with now-retired champion Nico Rosberg, has taken five successive poles at the desert Sakhir circuit.

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING

1. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Mercedes 

2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes

3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari

4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – TAG Heuer

5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari

6. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull – TAG Heuer

7. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Renault

8. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes

9. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas – Ferrari

10. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault 

11. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso – Renault

12. Lance Stroll (Canada) Williams-Mercedes

13. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Sauber – Ferrari

14. Esteban Ocon (France) Force India – Mercedes

15. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren

16. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Renault

17. Stoffel Vandoorne (Belgium) McLaren

18. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes

19. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber – Ferrari

20. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Haas – Ferrari

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