Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position at the Qatar Grand Prix at the twentieth race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Max Verstappen was in second position, 0.455 seconds slower than Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas was in third position behind the Dutchman.
The qualifying session started under the lights with air temperatures at 26 degrees C and track temperatures at 29 degrees C at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C1), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C2), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C3).
Q1: Räikkönen and Giovinazzi Eliminated
The two Uralkali Haas F1 Team drivers, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher were the first drivers on the track. Mazepin had his front-wing dragging along on his first flying lap.
Carlos Sainz was the early leader with a lap time of 1m23.323s. But Hamilton with a great first timed lap of 1m22.019s moved to the top of the time sheets, 0.215s ahead of Verstappen,
Bottas on his second run went fastest with a lap time of 1m22.016s, just 0.003s quicker than Hamilton. Then Verstappen went 0.02 seconds quicker than Bottas to take the top spot.
Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris had their track times deleted for exceeding track limits.
In the dying minutes of the session, Leclerc and Lance Stroll got themselves out of the dropzone.
Hamilton topped the session, just 0.095 secconds ahead of Verstappen. The margins were razor-thin in this qualification session.
Q1 dropzone: Kimi Räikkönen, Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi, Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin
Q2: Pérez and Leclerc knocked out
The top drivers were out on the medium compound tyres as this is the preferred tyre to start the race.
Hamilton went fastest with a lap time of 1m21.682s ahead of Verstappen and Bottas.
Pierre Gasly on the soft compound tyres went second fastest, 0.298 seconds slower than Hamilton.
In the last two minutes of the session, Pérez and Leclerc went out on the soft compound tyres but still failed to make it out of the dropzone.
Q2 dropzone: Sergio Pérez, Lance Stroll, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, George Russell
Q3: Hamilton takes pole position
The last all-important twelve minutes of the top ten shootout started with pole position being contested by Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers were the first drivers on the track with Hamilton leading Bottas on to the track.
Hamilton took provisional pole with a lap time of 1m21.262s, 0.162 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Bottas was 0.216 seconds behind Hamilton and Gasly was in fourth position.
Hamilton went even faster on his second flying lap with a scorching lap time of 1m20.827s to take pole position.
Gasly suffered a puncture when he went over a kerb as he came up to the finishing line. Verstappen improved but was still 0.455 seconds behind Hamilton.
Top 10: Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel
2021 Qatar Grand Prix Qualification Results:
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:21.901||1:21.682||1:20.827||18|
|2||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull Racing||1:21.996||1:21.984||1:21.282||18|
|3||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:22.016||1:21.991||1:21.478||20|
|4||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:22.535||1:21.728||1:21.640||19|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Alpine F1 Team||1:22.422||1:21.894||1:21.670||18|
|6||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:22.839||1:22.216||1:21.731||21|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||1:22.304||1:22.241||1:21.840||21|
|8||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:22.458||1:22.058||1:21.881||18|
|9||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Alpine F1 Team||1:22.565||1:22.012||1:22.028||18|
|10||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:22.549||1:22.146||1:22.785||21|
|11||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Red Bull Racing||1:22.398||1:22.346||12|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team||1:22.551||1:22.460||15|
|13||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:22.742||1:22.463||15|
|14||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||1:22.688||1:22.597||15|
|15||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:22.863||1:22.756||16|
|16||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:23.156||9|
|17||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:23.213||10|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:23.262||8|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||GER||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:23.407||9|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||RAF||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||1:25.859||9|