Lewis Hamilton produced a stunning lap of 1 minute 11.459 seconds to claim his sixty-fifth pole position in Formula 1, just 0.330 seconds ahead of Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel, who will be lining up alongside the Brit in tomorrow’s race.
Hamilton now sits in joint second in the all-time list of most pole positions, equal to Ayrton Senna but still some way behind Michael Schumacher.
The second row was locked out by Finns, as Valterri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen took third and fourth respectively. The battle of the Red Bull Racing drivers was won today by Max Verstappen, only very marginally ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, meaning that they will be starting the race in fifth and sixth.
In yet another strong performance for Felipe Massa, the Brazilian managed to edge ahead of the two Sahara Force India F1 Team drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, who once again had an impressive weekend by getting into Q3. The top ten was completed by Nico Hulkenberg.
Both Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers made it into Q2, but this was where their qualifying efforts ended, with Daniil Kvyat finishing fractionally ahead of his team-mate Carlos Sainz in P11 and P13 respectively, even though it appeared that he had a puncture caused by contact with the wall.
The two young drivers were split by the McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso, despite his complaints that he had less power in Q2 than in Q1. Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer were also knocked out in Q2, once again meaning that Palmer was unable to outqualify his team-mate, Hulkenberg.
Home favourite, Lance Stroll, could not capitalise on the support of the crowd as his last flying lap was compromised due to p was compromised due to Sauber F1 Team’s Pascal Wehrlein spinning and hitting the wall five minutes before the end of Q1. The early chequered flag meant that Stoffel Vandoorne, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson also failed to progress any further. This means that yet again this season, Vandoorne and Stroll have failed to outqualify their team-mates, which is becoming a worrying trend. Wehrlein’s spin means that he will find himself at the very back of the grid.
The fight between Hamilton and Vettel looked as close as ever today, but ultimately Hamilton managed a perfect lap whereas Vettel’s appeared a little more scruffy. But what really matters is who gets off the line quickest tomorrow, and we could be in for another fight for the win, and in the championship standings.