Hamilton leaves it late to snatch pole off dominant Bottas in qualifying 
(Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Formula One drivers took to the Algarve International Circuit for the first-ever F1 qualifying session to take place at the track. Lewis Hamilton secured pole position ahead of Sunday's race despite his teammate Valterri Bottas being dominant so far this weekend. Here's what happened:

Qualifying One

There was a delayed start to the first session in Portimao as race control were carrying out repairs on drain covers around the circuit after Sebastian Vettel loosened one of at turn 14 towards the end of Free Practice Three. 

All 20 drivers came out after the delay on the soft tyre with Max Verstappen setting the early pace in his Red Bull with a 1:16:879. Verstappen was soon beaten by Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes who set the fastest time of the session by 0.051 seconds. Hamilton's teammate Valterri Bottas was third fastest trailing his teammate by just over a tenth of a second. 

As the cars left for their final runs it was Romain Grosjean (Haas), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), George Rusell (Williams), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams) who needed to save themselves. 

British driver George Russell was the only man who could save himself continuing his impressive qualifying run of never being out-qualified by his teammate. Russells improved time dropped Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi out of the session who joined Raikkonen, Grojean, Magnussen and Latifi in the elimination zone. 

Qualifying Two

The second session started with the 15 drivers on a range of different tyers. Both Mercedes and Ferrari drivers opted for the medium tyre with the other 11 going for the softs.

Mercedes continued to set the pace in Q2 as Bottas went quickest with a 1:16.466, three-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton, both of the Silver Arrows on the medium tyre. Verstappen was third in his Red Bull, six tenths back from Hamilton.

With five minutes to go, it was Estaban Ocon (Renault), Lance Stroll (Racing Point), Danil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri), Sebastian Vettel and George Russell who were left in the bottom five to fight for a place in the top ten shootout. Daniel Ricciardo's (Renault) 1:17.481 was the time to beat to get into Q3.

Riccardo lost the back end of his car at turn 11 which brought out the yellow flags with 30 seconds to go. His spin didn't compromise anyone else's lap and resulted in  Ocon, Stroll, Kvyat, Russell and Vettel being knocked out of Q2.

Qualifying Three

With Bottas looking dominant it was left to himself, Hamilton, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc (Ferarri), Sergio Perez (Racing Point), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Lando Norris (McLaren), Alex Albon (Red Bull) and Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)  to fight for pole. Ricciardo wasn't able to take part in Q3 as his rear wing needed repairs following his shunt at the end of Q2.

All the drivers came out of the pits on the soft tyre aside form Alex Albon who went for the mediums. 

It was Bottas who put himself on provisional pole 0.047 seconds quicker than Hamilton with a 1:16.986. Verstappen was again close to the Mercedes and trailed Bottas by 0.121 seconds. Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez made up the top five with the fight for pole about to get underway. 

Both Mercedes made a brave move and returned to the track on the soft tyres to try and secure pole. There move proved effective as Lewis Hamilton snatched pole off Bottas with his final lap of the session posting a 1:16.652, securing pole for the 97th time in Formula One. Bottas was a tenth slower with Verstappen following in third, two and a half tenths off Hamilton. 

Starting Grid

Here is how the grid looks for Sundays race:

1. Hamilton (1:16.652)

2. Bottas (+0.102)

3. Verstappen (+0.252) 

4. Leclerc (+0.438)

5. Perez (+0.785)

6. Albon (+0.785)

7. Sainz (+0.868)

8. Norris (+0.873)

9. Gasly (+1.151)

10. Ricciardo (No time in Q3)

11. Ocon (1:17.614)

12. Stroll (1:17.626)

13. Kvyat (1:17.728)

14. Russell (1:17.788)

15. Vettel (1:17.919)

16. Raikkonen (1:18.201)

17. Giovinazzi (1:18.323)

18. Grosjean (1:18.364)

19. Magnussen (1:18.508)

20. Latifi (1:18.777)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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