Hamilton had already set the best time in the first Q3 run. On the last and all-important lap he went first of the ten pilots, Verstappen last. But Hamilton already indicated with his sector times that he does not want to leave any doubts about the pole position. Verstappen, on the other hand, did not make any improvement in the second sector of his last lap.
In the end, the gap was 0.455 seconds. “Look at the time!”, Race engineer Peter Bonnington Hamilton radioed into the cockpit. And Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to Verstappen: “The race isn’t until tomorrow.”
The result is a disappointment for Red Bull. Helmut Marko had predicted pole position before qualifying. But Verstappen has to admit: “We just weren’t fast enough. ‘Checo’ isn’t even in Q3.”
Red Bull had replaced the flapping rear wing on Verstappen after the final training. According to Horner, the most important thing is to be in the front row. Red Bull’s racing pace should be strong. “I think Max got everything that could be got out of the car. Hamilton just put in an incredible lap,” said Horner.
The racing pace of Red Bull does not worry Hamilton: “Our long run pace is good,” he says. “And it’s difficult to get behind someone on this track.” Team boss Toto Wolff also says: “If we had been able to choose, we would have chosen P1 and P3. Because that’s the clean side at the start.”
How should Perez’s Q2-out be classified?
The Mexican dropped out too early in eleventh place. However, this was also due to the tight time intervals. He was 0.362 seconds behind Verstappen – slightly more than usual. He was 0.105 seconds short of the top 10 cut. Sainz had to tremble until the end, but was ultimately faster than Perez.
Perez is of the opinion that his crew did not send him out at the optimal timing: “We went out at the worst possible time,” he criticizes.
Things went much better for Hamilton’s “wingman”. Bottas ended up in third place. “Now we’re two against one,” smiles the Finn. Even if 0.651 seconds are a lot less than his own team-mate: “The last lap was not good. I was on the way to improve by five hundredths to one tenth of a second,” he justifies himself.
Also in Q2, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and George Russell (Williams) were eliminated. And Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in 13th place. Already after the first Q2 run, he couldn’t figure out how far he was behind: he had the feeling that the car simply wasn’t going any faster, he said on the pit radio.
At least Leclerc was able to reduce his deficit on Sainz from almost one second to 0.222 seconds in the second attempt. Nevertheless, he was eliminated in Q2. “I have no idea what was going on today,” he puzzles. “I usually understand very well what I did wrong on a qualifying round – that’s one of my strengths. But that was weird today.”
“I just didn’t have any grip, from any of the four tires. It’s not that I had a problem with my balance. I just didn’t have any grip, and now we have to take a close look at whether there was anything strange or not.” says Leclerc.
Which drivers were eliminated in Q1?
According to the program, the two Haas rookies. In direct comparison, Mick Schumacher was 2.452 seconds faster than Nikita Masepin. Schumacher missed entry into the second qualifying by 0.544 seconds. That was enough for P19. 15th was in Q1 Russell.
Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) was 16. He was 0.293 seconds short of the cut. Nicholas Latifi (17./Williams) and Antonio Giovinazzi (18./Alfa Romeo) were eliminated with the “Iceman” and the Haas duo.
Why was Masepin so much behind Schumacher?
First of all, the Russian didn’t have the best cards after the engine problem in training three. During the break before qualifying, numerous parts had to be replaced so that the engine could run on all six instead of just four cylinders again.
But then there was also a rather bizarre explanation from Günther Steiner for the botched last lap: “On his first run he broke the front wing at Turn 4. That’s why he got out. He said on the radio that he doesn’t even know the track neat, “says the Haas team boss in an interview with ‘ServusTV’.