Due to a host of penalties, Max Verstappen’s qualifying win will not place him on pole. Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez line up on the front row.
At the start of the weekend, penalties were given to numerous drivers for new engine components. Most importantly, it meant that championship leaders Verstappen and Leclerc would start from the back of the grid.
The start of the session was delayed due to track repairs. After a 25 minute delay, Qualifying took place.
Q1 – Mercedes’ risk, surprising progressions
Red Bull and Ferrari led the way at the beginning of the session, with Verstappen edging out Sainz. Perez and Leclerc lined up behind. The were no further attempts to improve these runs and the positions remained the same at the end of Q1.
Meanwhile Mercedes’ first runs left a bit to be desired. 10th and 11th for Russell and Hamilton respectively.
The cars at risk of elimination were picking up a lot of pace at the end of the session, putting Mercedes at risk. However, they jumped back up the grid with their final times. Stroll and Zhou pulled together phenomenal laps to make Q2 and Albon finished the session in a massively impressive 6th.
5 different constructors made up the 5 eliminated places. Not something frequently seen.
- 16th Vettel
- 17th Latifi
- 18th Magnussen
- 19th Tsunoda
- 20th Bottas
Q2 – Albon excels, Ricciardo drops out
Red Bull set the pace early on, with Sainz 3rd. Leclerc’s lap was scrappy and only placed him 6th.
Ocon impressed with his first lap placing him 4th. However, he was one of the cars with a hefty grid penalty.
As Q2 came to a close, quite a few of the cars taking penalties gave slipstream advantages to their team-mates. This helped Alonso jump out of Q2 right at the death. Ricciardo was looking to just scrape through to Q3, but a sublime lap from Albon displaced him. Despite the unencouraging positions, all of the drivers, bar Schumacher, will gain positions before the race starts tomorrow.
- 11th Ricciardo
- 12th Gasly
- 13th Zhou
- 14th Stroll
- 15th Schumacher
Q3 – Sainz inherits 1st, Alonso takes 3rd after penalties.
Initial runs placed Verstappen 1st ahead of Sainz. But due to the unusual nature of the session, many cars were set to finish far higher than their qualifying positions. 10th place (without a penalty) would be equal a 6th placed race start.
Leclerc played the team game well, with Leclerc providing a perfectly timed slipstream to Sainz. But, a scrappy lap meant he was unable to improve from his 2nd place (net 1st) time. Perez managed a lap that was good enough for 3rd, while Alonso leapt to 6th on his final lap, which will equal a 3rd place start tomorrow.
– Brackets ( ) indicate actual race starting position –
- Sainz (1st)
- Perez (2nd)
- Alonso (3rd)
- Hamilton (4th)
- Russell (5th)
- Albon (6th)
A hugely mixed up grid for tomorrow, which will have whet the appetites of many F1 fans. To add to the drama of Verstappen and Leclerc fighting through the grid, Sainz and Perez line up 1-2 on the opposite end. Tantilising.
Featured Image Credit: @F1 Official Twitter