To commence the excitement even before the qualifying officially started, the FIA sent out a note stating there was still oil on track after an oil leak in a previous race of another racing series. Kimi Räikkönen left out to the track right as the light turned green. He was followed by his teammate Sebastian Vettel. The Ferraris obviously wanted to cover themselves from a possible yellow flag at the end of the session
Both McLarens were briefly at the top with Vandoorne 1st and Alonso 3rd as the other drivers were still careful about the oil on track. However, both Red Bulls quickly overtook them. Massa limped to the pits with a broken rear right after the Brazilian had hit a wall on the final sector.
The track was improving hugely the longer Q1 went on. With each driver crossing the line, the standings changed. The Red Bulls manned the top two with Hamilton third. The final tries witnessed massive improvements from many lower teams. Both McLarens, Renaults and Toro Rossos jumped to the top 15 to save themselves from elimination.
Out in Q1:
16. Kevin MAGNUSSEN – Haas – 1:43.756
17. Felipe MASSA – Williams – 1:44.014
18. Lance STROLL – Williams – 1:44.728
19. Pascal WEHRLEIN – Sauber – 1:45.059
20. Marcus ERICSSON – Sauber – 1:45.570
The Ferraris were early out again, this time emulated by Mercedes. Kimi Räikkönen opened the session with a 1:40.999, beating both Mercedes but falling behind Sebastian Vettels 1:40.529. After the first tries however, Red Bull was the strongest with Verstappen on top and Ricciardo 3rd.
The frantic final 3 minutes saw all fifteen remaining cars out on track. Not too much drama took place; Alonso was the only one to get inside the top ten from outside, dropping Jolyon Palmer from Q3. Karma! The Red Bulls yet again took top two, this time being followed by Kimi Räikkönen. Both McLarens made it to Q3, proving yet again that they are able to perform on the slower tracks.
Eliminated from Q3:
11. Jolyon PALMER – Renault – 1:42.107
12. Sergio PEREZ – Force India – 1:42.246
13. Daniil KVYAT – Toro Rosso – 1:42.338
14. Esteban OCON – Force India – 1:42.760
15. Romain GROSJEAN – Haas – 1:43.883
This time the McLarens were the first ones on track, but Räikkönen again led the line of the top drivers. The first laps of the top five were in the following order: Vettel 1:39.669, Verstappen 1:39.814, Ricciardo 1:39.862, Räikkönen 1:40.069 and Hamilton 1:40.192. Valtteri Bottas had a dreadful lap, over a second behind Vettel on top.
With under three mins to go everyone left the pits. The first sector was very close between everyone, with Räikkönen and Vettel coming out on top. Both Ferraris touched the wall in sector two, which cost Räikkönen any chance of improving his time and making it into the top three.
After a hectic beginning for the final laps, no positions changed as Sebastian Vettel improved his time to defend against the attack from both Red Bulls. Hamilton and Bottas couldn’t make anything from their laps, falling back to fifth and sixth. Behind the top six, McLaren had a great qualifying with Alonso eighth and Vandoorne ninth.
Top 10 from qualifying:
1. Sebastian VETTEL – Ferrari – 1:39.491
2. Max VERSTAPPEN – Red Bull – 1:39.814
3. Daniel RICCIARDO – Red Bull – 1:39.840
4. Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN – Ferrari – 1:40.069
5. Lewis HAMILTON – Mercedes – 1:40.126
6. Valtteri BOTTAS – Mercedes – 1:40.810
7. Nico HULKENBERG – Renault – 1:41.013
8. Fernando ALONSO – McLaren – 1:41.179
9. Stoffel VANDOORNE – McLaren – 1:41.398
10. Carlos SAINZ – Toro Rosso – 1:42.056
What did you make of qualifying? Comment below!
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?