After qualifying there was a happy Hamilton in front of the cameras. “We have been strong all weekend. We made some adjustments for qualifying, but you know it’s a gamble. Ultimately, I knew we had to make this choice. The first lap was perfect and the second looked even better, but I made a small mistake. Yet it is unbelievable that I have ridden a hundred poles. I want to thank everyone at Mercedes for all the support and hard work. Who would have ever thought that we would achieve such a performance when we started working together in 2013. ”
Max Verstappen had a solid qualification. The Dutchman managed to get close to the World Champion and was extremely satisfied afterwards. “We had some minor problems in the first part of qualifying, but we had the speed in the second part. In the last part we recorded a good and solid lap. We knew Mercedes would be hard to beat, but we’re close to it in the end. The speed is there, so I hope we have a good race tomorrow. ”
Lando Norris fastest in Q1
The surprise in the first part of qualifying came from Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc. The latter had also been fast in the third free practice and again had the speed in qualifying. But in the end, eyes were on Lando Norris. The McLaren driver was seriously delayed in his first run by Nikita Mazepin, but then surprised with his second run. The Briton set the fastest time for Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren. In the back are regular customers Mick Schumacher, Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin. Kimi Raikkonen was also not fast enough, just like Yuki Tsunoda who had to go through the gravel with the left side in his fastest run and therefore lost too much speed.
The middle part of qualifying was nail biting for the teams and drivers. The field had been very close together all weekend. In free practice 2 the first 14 were in a second and on Saturday morning it were 13 riders within a second. One mistake on the track could therefore be decisive for a place on Sunday’s grid. Yet there were no surprises and it was the established order that managed to get through to the last part of the qualification. Max Verstappen was with a lead of more than two tenths at the top of the list ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. With his round, the Dutchman gave a warning to Mercedes for the fight for pole position. The dropouts were Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell.
In the top 10 qualifying the first spectacle came from Sergio Perez. The Mexican spun after losing control of his car because he was slightly off track with two tires. World champion Lewis Hamilton was somewhat hindered by gravel on the track. Despite this problem, Hamilton just managed to set the fastest time on the monitors for Verstappen and Bottas. The battle for pole seemed to come on the second run of the toppers. Surprisingly, there was no one faster except Charles Leclerc who managed to claim fourth place and can start from the second row.