Mercedes enjoyed a dominant Saturday as Formula One’s 2020 season opener continued to throw up plenty of drama of the first Saturday of this new campaign.
Valtteri Bottas snatched a dramatic pole position from teammate, Lewis Hamilton as Qualifying threw up plenty of surprises after a frantic final practice session earlier in day.
Nicholas Latifi meanwhile suffered a crash before finishing Qualifying in last place as we bring the full story behind FPP3 and Qualifying.
Free Practice Three
Lando Norris led Haas’ Kevin Magnussen straight out onto track for installation laps, as many drivers instead opted to wait ten minutes before venturing out into the sunshine.
Carlos Sainz set the first benchmark of a 1m 06.307 on mediums, before lowering his time on his next flier to a 1m 06.264 prior to several drivers trading fastest laps as Ferrari focused on soft tyre runs.
Sebastian Vettel went top after 20 minutes with a 1m 05.159 on softs ahead of Bottas and Hamilton, who both opted to do medium tyre runs in the early stages, with Hamilton eventually going top just minutes later on his second flier with a 1m 05.140.Embed from Getty Images
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi then brought out a ten minute red flag after spinning at turn one, slamming into the barrier front wing first before double pirouetting to a halt.
Once the session resumed, Ferrari opted to bank their qualifying simulation fliers early on with Charles Leclerc edging Vettel out by 0.148s, as Red Bull’s Alex Albon eventually split the pair in sixth.
Hamilton completed a hatrick of practice topping performances this weekend, producing a stunning 1m 04.130, once again finishing ahead of Bottas by a closer margin of 0.147s than in either of yesterday’s sessions.
Max Verstappen rounded out the top three with a 1m 04.413 which was just 0.192s quicker than Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in fourth, as Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris rounded out the top ten.
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Latifi was first out on track in Q1 after Williams managed to repair his car in time following a FP3 crash, setting the first benchmark of a 1m 07.208 which was quickly beaten by the Alfa Romeo cars of Kimi Raikkonen then Antonio Giovinazzi.
Q1 however saw times tumble throughout the session culminating in a breathless final minute in which Verstappen finished fastest with a 1m 04.024 ahead of Bottas and Hamilton.
Latifi meanwhile will begin his first F1 race from last place, with Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, George Russell and Kevin Magnussen also eliminated in Q1.
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Q2 was a quieter affair as many drivers all ran at once after spending the opening four minutes sat in the pits, with Hamilton quickest after first runs with a 1m 03.325 from Bottas.
Romain Grosjean, Esteban Ocon, Albon, Kvyat and Gasly meanwhile sat in the elimination zone with five minutes left, of which only Albon escaped with a strong lap to condemn Ferrari’s Vettel to a shock Q2 exit in 11th ahead of Gasly, Kvyat, Ocon and Grosjean.
Bottas meanwhile went quickest at the death with a 1m 03.015 and 0.081s quicker than Hamilton, who posted a 1m 03.096 on his final Q2 flier with Verstappen down in 8th but through on mediums of which he will start on for the race.
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Many drivers again chose to wait at start of Q3 before heading out at the same time, in which Bottas smashed the track record with a 1m 02.939 on his first flier to lead Hamilton and Verstappen with 0.612s splitting the top three after first Q3 runs.
Bottas however ran wide across the gravel on his final flier but clinched pole after Hamilton fell just 0.012s short to deny the Brit a perfect Saturday, after the Brit had topped FP3.
Norris meanwhile pitted at the end of his first attempt after a mistake but recovered with a stunning final flier to sandwich Verstappen and Albon in a brilliant fourth-place.
Perez, Leclerc, Sainz, Stroll and Ricciardo meanwhile rounded the top ten for the first five rows of Sunday’s grid.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 04.130|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 04.277|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 04.413|
|4||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1m 04.605|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 04.703|
|6||Alex Albon||Red Bull||1m 04.725|
|7||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1m 04.851|
|8||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1m 04.918|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||1m 04.949|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren||1m 04.950|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Renault||1m 05.037|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||1m 05.088|
|13||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||1m 05.177|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||1m 05.290|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas||1m 05.363|
|16||George Russell||Williams||1m 05.565|
|17||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1m 05.648|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1m 05.654|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1m 05773|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||1m 07.049|
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 02.939|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 02.951|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 03.477|
|4||Lando Norris||McLaren||1m 03.626|
|5||Alex Albon||Red Bull||1m 03.868|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1m 03.868|
|7||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 03.923|
|8||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||1m 03.971|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1m 04.029|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||1m 04.239|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1m 04.206|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||1m 04.305|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||1m 04.431|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Renault||1m 04.643|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas||1m 04.691|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1m 05.164|
|17||George Russell||Williams||1m 05.167|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1m 05.175|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1m 05.224|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||1m 05.737|