Lewis Hamilton produced a dramatic last-gasp lap to snatch pole from Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas for 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix.
Having dominated Friday Practice, Bottas was dominant throughout Saturday to top FP3 and the middle Qualifying session but Hamilton produced a stunning 1m 16.652 to snatch pole from his teammate with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualifying third.
Further back, Williams’ George Russell produced a surprise as he outqualified Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Q2 as we bring a full roundup of Saturday’s action around the Algarve International Circuit.
A quiet start to FP3 saw Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon plus both Alpha Tauri and Haas cars hit the track for installation laps, with Bottas setting the first timed lap after ten minutes of a 1m 17.988 on soft tyres, which was 0.028 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s first flier.
Hamilton then went fastest with a 1m 16.931 before eventually lowering the bar to a 1m 16.680 on soft tyres after 20 minutes with Max Verstappen managing to better his time but on mediums with a 1m 16.659 which was soon deleted for exceeding track limits.
Hamilton ultimately led at the halfway mark from Pierre Gasly and Verstappen as Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc sat fourth and fifth, although Bottas on an early soft tyre flier posted a 1m 16.654 which would eventually prove to be the fastest time of the session.
Qualifying simulations saw several drivers opt to attempt a double warm-up before unleashing a flier with only Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Leclerc amongst a handful who managed to improve before Sebastian Vettel ran over a drain covering on the final corner, bringing the session to an early end with one minute left.
Bottas consequently topped the timesheet for the third time this weekend with Hamilton, Verstappen, Gasly, Albon, Leclerc, Sainz, Perez, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top ten, with the top ten all split by 1.012s.
Stroll’s difficult weekend continued as he finished the session in 16th behind Williams’ George Russell whilst Vettel found himself 11th heading into Qualifying.
After a 30 minute delay to allow for drainage repairs, several drivers were straight out onto the track when the light went green with Sergio Perez setting the early pace, posting a 1m 18.040 until Bottas posted a 1m 17.064 to go quickest.
Once everyone completed their first fliers, the elimination zone compromised of; Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen, George Russell, Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi.
Russell ultimately was the only driver to survive with a 1m 17.931 at the flag as Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Grosjean, Magnussen and Latifi were eliminated.
Once again, several drivers were straight out once the track went green with Mercedes and Ferrari opting to send their drivers out on mediums unlike other teams.
Bottas set the initial pace with a 1m 16.466 from Perez and Norris as some opted for two flying laps with improvement on their second efforts, with the bottom five eventually containing Ocon, Stroll, Kvyat, Vettel and Russell heading into the final minutes.
None of the drivers managed to climb out of the elimination zone although Russell produced a 1m 17.788 to qualify above Vettel in 14th after Ferrari failed to switch Vettel to a soft tyre strategy for his final run.
Ricciardo meanwhile lost the rear of his Renault at Turn 11 on his final run to spin into the barriers before recovering to the pits where he remained throughout Q3.
Bottas set the initial Q3 pace despite conditions slowing the cars down with a 1m 16.986 which was 0..047s quicker than Hamilton with Verstappen, Leclerc, Albon and Perez scrapping over third.
Mercedes decided to unusually gamble on a medium tyre final run with Hamilton getting two flying laps to Bottas’ one, of which Hamilton improved on his teammate’s initial pole time by 0.052s until Bottas delivered a 1m 16.754 to seemingly take pole.
Verstappen then slotted himself in between both Mercedes cars with a 1m 16.904 but Hamilton nailed his second and final lap to produce a 1m 16.654 to snatch a 97th pole in F1 by 0.102s from Bottas, of who had dominated the entire weekend.
Leclerc finished fourth ahead of Perez, Albon, Sainz, Norris and Gasly as Ricciardo failed to set a time due to damage from his Q2 crash.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1m 16.654|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.026|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.158|
|4||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 0.276|
|5||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.463|
|6||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.575|
|7||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.584|
|8||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 0.643|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.824|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Renault||+ 1.012|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 1.031|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.066|
|13||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.268|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||+ 1.281|
|15||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.378|
|16||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 1.446|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.547|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 1.633|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.743|
|20||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 1.800|
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 16.652|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.102|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.252|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.438|
|5||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+ 0.571|
|6||Alex Albon||Red Bull||+ 0.785|
|7||Carlos Sainz||McLaren||+ 0.868|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.873|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+ 1.151|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||No Time Set|
|11||Esteban Ocon||Renault||1m 17.614|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+ 0.012|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Alpha Tauri||+ 0.114|
|14||George Russell||Williams||+ 0.174|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+ 0.305|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1m 18.201|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.122|
|18||Romain Grosjean||Haas||+ 0.163|
|19||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 0.407|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.576|