Valtteri Bottas made a flying start under his new contract with Mercedes. He snuck pole position from his teammate by just by 0.063s, having trailed him by three-tenths last weekend on the same tyres.
The Finn will still be smarting from his pointless outing last weekend after a puncture dropped him out of the top ten, with just a handful of laps left till the flag.
Bottas will be looking to get his championship back on track at the rematch in Silverstone tomorrow afternoon, keeping his teammate within sight in the battle for the crown.
Nico Hulkenburg is another man on a mission, smashing his Racing Point onto 3rd on the grid. He came away empty-handed last time out in his impromptu return to the sport.
The German wasn’t even able to take to the grid last Sunday after his Pink car developed problems in the garage, cutting short his return to F1 since being dumped from the Renault team last year.
Ferrari continued to struggle with Sebastian Vettel again out in Q2, and Charles Leclerc not able to trouble the front again.
Red Bull have found themselves on the back foot in the fight for the podium. Whether that is down to their car, and how much of it is the extra time brought to the team by Hulkenburgh, will be revealed tomorrow.
Q1: No surprises in this session. That is, if you don’t count Daniil Kvyat being knocked out after having a time deleted for track limits. There was also a scare for Alexander Albon in the Red Bull, who was sitting in 16th after the initial runs, a whole 1.3s off his teammate. But the young Thai pulled it back before the flag to get into the next session.
Estaban Ocon was put under investigation after he was caught dawdling on the racing line as George Russell was coming through turn four at speed on a hot lap, causing the Brit to take to the runoff to avoid a collision.
16th Daniil Kvyat – Alpha Tauri
17th Kevin Magnussen – Haas
18th Nicholas Latifi – Williams
19th Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo
20th Kimi Raikkonen – Alfa Romeo
Q2: Mamma mia! It just doesn’t get any better for the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. 12th on the grid tomorrow, pending any grid penalty for Ocon ahead, even after using the unfavoured and very fragile soft tyres in this session in a desperate attempt to get into Q3.
Carlos Sainz was another casualty. The Ferrari bound Spaniard struggled to eke out the performance the young upstart Lando Norris is able to find on Saturdays.
11th Esteban Ocon – Renault
12th Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari
13th Carlos Sainz – McLaren
14th Romain Grosjean – Haas
15th George Russell – Williams
Q3: Well, well, well. A day after the FIA essentially let Racing Point off with a slap on the wrist, the man drafted in just a week ago to substitute for COVID stricken Sergio Perez put the controversial car on 3rd.
Best of the rest, the pink cars have threatened since back in pre-season testing. But it took Hulkenburg, left on the scrapheap last season, to unleash the performance we all suspected was there.
Bottas snuck into Pole on his final lap despite Lewis improving marginally on his final run. Both Mercedes went out on the medium tyres for their 2nd attempts.
1st Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – 1:25.154
2nd Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:25.217
3rd Nico Hulkenberg – Racing Point – 1:26.082
4th Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:26.176
5th Daniel Ricciardo – Renault – 1:26.297
6th Lance Stroll – Racing Point – 1:26.428
7th Pierre Gasly – Alpha Tauri – 1:26.534
8th Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – 1:26.614
9th Alexander Albon – Red Bull – 1:26.669
10th Lando Norris – McLaren – 1:26.778
Post qualifying update:
Esteban Ocon has been given a three-place grid penalty for blocking Russell in Q1. Vettel, Sainz, and Romain Grosjean have been promoted to 11th, 12th, and 13th respectively.