Lewis Hamilton bagged his 93rd win of his pole career, breaking the lap record in his wake. Valtteri Bottas narrowly made 2nd, beating Max Verstappen, as he finished more than half a second behind his teammate.
Hamilton was vocal about his fears for this weekend as Red Bull proved to be a match over the weekend’s practice sessions. Ultimately those fears were unfounded. The six time world champion gave the grid a lesson on how to squeeze every last bit of pace out of his machinery, and will once again head the field at lights out tomorrow.
As he made his way to the pits he dedicated the record-extending pole to Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther star who died due to colon cancer.
Daniel Ricciardo was the surprise of the weekend so far as the Aussie put a smile on the face of Renault, slotting the French marque onto the second row ahead of a Red Bull and both McLarens for their best qualifying result of the year so far.
Q1: Not much surprises at the back end of the grid. George Russell getting out of Q1 is no longer a surprise as he made it his fifth from seven attempts so far this year. Other than that it was the usual suspects filling up the back couple of rows, with Kimi Raikonnen coming agonisingly close to knocking out a Ferrari, being the big story that didn’t quite happen.
The biggest scare of the session was Kevin Magnussen running wide on his final lap and almost scooting off along the gravel into the barriers, eventually bringing it home, but in plum last.
|16) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:43.743|
|17) Romain Grosjean||Haas||1:43.838|
|18) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:43.950|
|19) Nicholas Latifi||Williams||1:44.138|
|20) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1:44.314|
Q2: What a difference a year makes. 2019 has seen a Ferrari front-row lock-out. 2020 has seen the Italians lock out the seventh row instead, beating only Williams of Russell in the second session.
It’s been a difficult weekend for Charles Leclerc, and not only because his car is seemingly nowhere to be seen this year at Spa. He left flowers at the point on the track where his friend and fellow countryman, Anthoine Hubert, lost his life in a violent F2 crash last year.
Ferrari have lacked top speed all year, but to have both cars out in Q2 is a new low. Spa looks to continue the season of pain, as they don’t look like points finishers this week barring retirements ahead.
|11) Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri||1:42.730|
|12) Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||1:42.745|
|13) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1:42.996|
|14) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:43.261|
|15) George Russell||Williams||1:43.468|
Q3: Bottas was probably hoping for some new injection of confidence having slipped down to 3rd in the championship standings. But whatever confidence the Finn was holding onto will have been ripped from him, as he could only watch helplessly as the sister car went over half a second faster.
Added to that the Red Bull of Verstappen was only a hundreth back in 3rd, looking ominous for the race as the gap usually closes going into Sundays between the top two teams.
Renault has seen their best qualifier since their full time return to the sport with outgoing driver Ricciardo sharing the smiles all-round as he bagged himself a second row start, beating both McLarens and the Red Bull of Alex Albon on the way.
Esteban Ocon joined in on the fun just behind in 6th, putting all three engine manufactures in the top three rows with two cars a piece.
Today’s race has a threat of rain, and going by Austria that might not even stop Hamilton romping away. Bottas has it all to do well and keep Max behind, with both Ferraris hopefully coming out in one piece.
Renault will hope their race pace will keep them ahead of both Mclarens and the ever-threatening Racing Points.
It should be a great race. It won’t be any worse than Spain that’s for sure.