A nail-biting Qualifying came to an end with Valtteri Bottas claiming his first ever pole. Lewis Hamiltion was slower by 2/100ths of a second and will line up alongside his team-mate in a first ever Mercedes 1-2 for the season. Sebastian Vettel was third fastest and will line up alongside Daniel Ricciardo who edged ahead of Kimi Raikkonen by a very small margin.
The session started off with most drivers on Supersoft except the Ferraris and Mercedes. There was a surprise knock out for Sergio Perez who could only do a lap good enough for 18th on the grid. Kevin Magnussen was the slowest and will start 20th on the grid behind Marcus Ericsson. Stoffel Vandoorne was knocked out and Fernando Alonso barely made it to Q2 before he retired with an engine failure which needs to be changed before the race tomorrow. Another shock of the session was Carlos Sainz who had another engine stoppage and will start 16th on the grid tomorrow. Pascal Wehrlein in the latter stages put in a stunner of a lap to make it to Q2. Here’s the Q1 Session Classification.
Q2 started with all drivers on Supersofts. Both the Renaults put in good laps but it was Nico Hulkenberg who stole the show with a massive lap which put him ahead of the RedBulls. Daniil Kvyat was barely edged out of Q3 by Romain Grosjean who was elated and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to his mechanic after his lap. Lance Stroll struggled to put his Williams into Q3 and will start 12th tomorrow. Pascal Wehrlein put in another massive lap to put him infront of former teammate Esteban Ocon in 13th position. Here’s the full classification of Q2.
Finally it was turn for Q3 and the Mercedes looked ahead of everyone on the grid as Hamilton put in a lap almost half a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas came a close second on his first run. On his second stint however he did put up a breathtaking lap to claim his first ever pole in his F1 career. Daniel Ricciardo edged out Raikkonen with a few 100ths of a second to start 4th on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen will start 5th but will hope to redeem his chances of a podium finish as the Ferraris look good on race pace. Max Verstappen will start 6th ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who gave another stunning lap to line up 7th on the grid. Felipe Massa will start next to him and Romain Grosjean will lineup alongside the other Renault of Jolyon Palmer. Here’s the full Q3 classification.
Can Bottas claim his first win and become a title contender? Can Ferrari edge ahead of the Silver Arrows? Can Kimi Raikkonen redeem himself? Can the RedBulls pull an ace from it’s sleeve?
Stay tuned as all your questions will be answered tomorrow in what is going to be a splendid duel in the desert tomorrow as we update you throughout the session on Twitter.