We F1 fans are getting used to waiting, but if we are being rewarded with outstanding qualifying and race sessions like those in the past two weeks, we will happily sit and wait.
Qualifying was delayed by 45 minutes today, with FP3 cancelled altogether, but the wet weather gave us one of the best qualifying sessions we have had in quite some time.
Williams climbing up the grid, Ferrari stalling in the midfield, and a champion is back! No, not that one. More on Fernando Alonso returning later this week.
With the session finally underway, Sebastian Vettel got to the head of the queue in the pit-lane awaiting the green light. He set the pace in the difficult conditions.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t to last long. The Ferrari is still showing its performance deficit even with the wet weather acting as an equaliser.
Sergio Perez and Kimi Räikkönen were the big-name casualties of this first session. It was unfortunate for young Nicholas Latifi who came across yellow flags just as he looked good to get his Williams into Q2, alongside the sister car piloted by the continuingly impressive George Russell.
16 Kimi Räikkönen
17 Sergio Perez
18 Nicholas Latifi
19 Antonio Giovinazzi
20 Romain Grosjean
The story of this session was the two Ferrari drivers battling between each other so as not to be punted out of Q3. Vettel was in 10th and Charles Leclerc was in the danger zone in 11th. But as the rain started to fall heavier, and the clock ticked down, none of them were pulling out personal bests.
Ferrari ended the session the same as last week, with a car out in 11th. But there will be no tyre choice advantage tomorrow, all drivers having free choice due to the wet qualifying.
George Russell ended tantalisingly close to Q3, only just over a tenth of a second behind the fasted of the two Ferraris 10th placed man Vettel. A bad omen for the prancing horses given their recent run of form.
Can we have a wet qualifying session every week? Who’s on pole? Is it Lewis Hamilton? Valterri Bottas? Max Verstappen? It was changing every single lap. But stand aside everyone, the champion is back with an outstanding lap at the last. Taking his 89th pole, over 1.2 seconds faster than anyone else.
Verstappen had the chance to snatch pole, even if just for a few seconds, but he dropped it going into the last corner.
Bottas couldn’t continue his heroics from last week, slotting in 4th in behind the impressive Mclaren of Carlos Sainz.
We had to wait longer than expected to see the action on track, but yet again it was more than worth it.
Tomorrow, Hamilton will be looking to undo the damage of his shaky first weekend back, while Verstappen will be eager to right the wrongs of his DNF and take the fight to the champion up front.
Spicy one again? Yes please!
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