DEFENDING World champion Lewis Hamilton stormed through the final qualifying session claiming his 99th pole position of his illustrious career. Hamilton laid down a tough marker in the opening runs of the qualifying shootout with a provisional pole time of 1:14.411. Hamilton failed to improve on his final run, but the benchmark he set would be enough.
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez put together a blistering final run in Q3 to qualify in second for his first-ever front row start. Perez qualified ahead of teammate Max Verstappen, who was out-qualified by a team mate for the first time since Malaysia 2018.
“What a massive result for us, knowing that I could win the race tomorrow is definitely a good feeling. There are a lot of positives to take out of today but I made a little mistake at the final turn, I was so close to pole.” siad Perez after the session,“It just shows the amount of work we have put into this as a Team is paying off.” he concluded.
Leclerc secured fourth on the grid – for the second race in a row – while Pierre Gasly grabbed an excellent fifth place on the grid for AlphaTauri. “The gaps are extremely close – I think we’re just a couple of hundredths off Charles and just three or four tenths from the top guys – so it’s a great achievement today and we’re in a good position for tomorrow.” Gasly commented.
Daniel Ricciardo will start P6 for McLaren, ahead of teammate Lando Norris, who aggressively registered a lap quick enough for third on the grid, only to have his lap deleted for a track limits infringement.
An error from Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas sees the Finn start in eighth, ahead of Alpine Racing’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll. The latter failed to register a valid time in Q3 and will start in 10th.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished Q2 in a disappointing 11th place, quite a ways off from team mate Leclerc. Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi both escaped Q1 – as a pair -for the first time since Hungary 2020, yet Russell was visibly disappointed with his performance. The pair qualified 12th and 14th respectively. Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel will start 13th and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso will start 15th.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi qualified 16th and 17th respectively, Schumacher, Mazepin, Tsunoda