Verstappen on pole as Bottas crashes in qualifying
 Photo credit: Dan Istitene, Getty Images 

Verstappen takes top spot

Max Verstappen managed to dip into the one-minute fourteens early in the session, setting the bar high from the get-go in Q3.

With 30-seconds left in the session the drivers started their final shot at their starting position, with Alexander Albon starting his flying lap first, followed shortly by Charles Leclerc.

However, coming into the final corner of the lap Valtteri Bottas lost control of the car and hit the safety barriers in a big way, bringing out the yellow flags for the drivers yet to complete their flying laps.

Consequently, Verstappen managed to gain pole position with an early set time, followed closely by both Ferrari’s,  Leclerc just ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Taking the fourth position spot was the singular silver arrow that managed to finish the session in Lewis Hamilton, ahead of  Albon, securing the highest qualifying position he has ever had. The second silver arrow of  Bottas placed sixth, despite the monumental accident at the last corner.

In the best of the rest position was Carlos Sainz yet again, followed by Lando Norris, making it nine times each that they have out qualified each other and rounding out another successful qualifying for the papaya clad team.

Continuing the pace that they had shown all weekend long, Toro Rosso rounded out the top ten.

1st – Max Verstappen

2nd – Charles Leclerc

3rd – Sebastian Vettel

4th – Lewis Hamilton

5th – Alexander Albon

6th – Valtteri Bottas

7th – Carlos Sainz

8th - Lando Norris

9th – Daniil Kvyat

10th – Pierre Gasly

Movement from tyre to tyre 

The second of the qualifying sessions saw the midfield teams move to the softer red ring tires in order to give better grip as the track had started to heat up.

However, the top three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull were all still on the medium tyres.

At the Halfway point in the session Vettel had managed to secure top spot closely followed by  Verstappen and Leclerc .

The man who would go on to take the top spot at full time was  Hamilton, backed up in second by  Bottas.

Q2, much like Q1, also saw two teams duck out back to back. The man who scraped into the session from Q1, Antonio Giovinazzi, finished in 15th position, yet again beaten by the 40 year old Kimi Raikkonen who placed the car one position above him in 14th.

The second set of team mates to bow out were the Renault drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. The session started under dubious circumstances as it emerged that Ricciardo was under investigation for a pit-lane tussle with Daniil Kvyat.

He was out qualified by Hulkenberg also, putting the two drivers in 12th and 13th respectfully.

The man who just missed out on Q3 was the home hero Sergio Perez. Despite being cheered around every corner of the circuit, the Mexican couldn’t get the most out of the Racing Point and saw himself lose out on a spot in the top ten.

Drivers Out

11th – Sergio Perez

12th – Nico Hulkenberg

13th - Daniel Ricciardo

14th – Kimi Raikkonen

15th Antonio Giovinazzi

The usual suspects 

The first 18-minutes of qualifying started with Red Bull setting a strong precedent at the top of the leader board with Verstappen leading his Thai counterpart Albon. 

With five-minutes left to go in the session the usual suspects were struggling down the bottom of the grid. George Russell was complaining about the lack of temperature in the car and consequently was shackled to second bottom of the grid, only above his Polish teammate Robert Kubica.

Two other drivers who continued to struggle in this session, as they had done for the large portion of the weekend, were the Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

In the Frenchman’s first lap he managed to lock the back axel of the car and spin out onto the runoff area and things didn’t get too much better for him later in the session either, finishing in 18th just behind Magnussen who ended the session in 17th.

The final driver to not get into Q2 was Lance Stroll who lost out to  Giovinazzi. The Italian managed to pip Stroll to the last position during a crazy two minutes at the end of Q3 which saw all the drivers, apart from the top six, return to the track to try and beat their best lap.

Drivers out

16th – Lance Stroll

17th – Kevin Magnussen

18th – Romain Grosjean

19th – George Russell

20th – Robert Kubica

 

 

 

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