Mercedes Valterri Bottas takes his first pole position of the season ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as Haas’s Romain Grosjean splits the Red Bull drivers to qualify in 6th.
It was always going to be close between the Mercedes drivers but before Qualifying, it looked like that Pole was going to go to Lewis Hamilton. But when the time came, Valterri Bottas set two amazing laps in Q3 to secure his first Pole Position of 2018. Both Hamilton and Bottas set their Q2 lap times on the Supersoft tyre which means that they will start on the Supersoft tyre.
To be over 3 tenths and 5 tenths behind the lead Mercedes driver on such a short circuit will play on Ferrari’s mind. To add insult to injury, Sebastian Vettel, who qualified in 3rd and now 14 points behind Hamilton in the championship, will start from 6th after impeding Carlos Sainz Jr in Q2. Unlike Mercedes, both Ferrari’s of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will start on the Ultrasoft tyre.
Red Bull have never really gone well at what is their home race. Engine power and aerodynamics are vital round here in something Red Bull lack in. Red Bull, for the past 7 years, have come up with a system which includes one of their drivers going out on track first meaning that the driver behind has a tow. This system seemed to go out the window as both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen squabbled on track. Both were surprised to see the Haas of Grosjean split them. Both will start on the Supersoft tyre.
Wow. What a performance by Romain Grosjean to qualify his Haas in 6th place and therefore splitting the Red Bull drivers. Grosjean, who is yet to score a single point this season, was very happy to out-qualify team-mate Kevin Magnussen and to have a consistent session. The aim is to get both drivers in the points tomorrow.
It was also a good session for Carlos Sainz Jr as he out-qualified Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in 9th and 10th. Both seem to be happy with their performance but along with many were surprised to see the pace of both Haas drivers ahead of them.
Esteban Ocon did an amazing job to qualify in 11th and to beat team-mate Sergio Perez who was knocked out in Q1. Ahead of Force India’s 200th GP start, points may be a tough as for the Mexican.
Pierre Gasly did all he could and was in contention to creep into the top 10 but by starting in 12th, he’ll have a free choice of what tyre he can start on. Toro Rosso team-mate Brendon Hartley had a much tougher time and ended up 19th. Hartley was running the old spec front wing as his broke in practice while Gasly was running the new spec one.
It was another fine performance by Charles Leclerc to get through to Q2 for the 6th time this season. He will incur a 5 place grid penalty after coming to a halt at the end of FP3 due to a gearbox issue. Leclerc ran wide in the dying seconds in Q1 which brought out the yellow flags and disrupted laps for others. Marcus Ericsson struggled and ended up half a second behind Leclerc in 20th.
Stoffel Vandoorne had been looking good all session but failed to make it through to Q2. The Belgian was on a hot lap when Leclerc ran wide and prevented the McLaren driver from improving. This is the 14th time Vandoorne has been out-qualified by Fernando Alonso since 2017. Alonso on the other hand had been struggling all weekend but managed to progress to Q2 and ended up 14th after running wide and breaking a small part of his front wing on his final run.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Williams this weekend as Lance Stroll wrestled his car to Q2 and eventually qualifying in 15th while team-mate Sergey Sirotkin was caught out by Leclerc running wide causing yellow flags which prevented the Russian from improving.
- Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:03:130
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:03:149
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:03:464
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:03:660
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:03:840
- Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:03:892
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:03:996
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1:04:051
- Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, 1:04:725
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:05:019
- Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:04:845
- Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:04:874
- Charles Leclerc, Sauber, 1:04:979
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:05:058
- Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:05:286
- Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:05:271
- Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:05:279
- Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1:05:322
- Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:05:336
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:05:479