Charles Leclerc takes his 6th pole of the season in a hectic qualifying session
Charles Leclerc continues his fine qualifying performances this season as he starts from the front of the grid again after a fantastic lap saw him finish 3 tenths of a second ahead of Sergio Perez.
A very humid track set the scene for what was to become a very hectic Q1 session, with the first of 2 incidents being courtesy of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who found himself in the wall at the exit of turn 7 after a major lockup. He kept his engine going however his session only lasted a few more minutes before he found himself going too wide at turn 2 and ending up with major suspension and front wing damage.
With the resulting incident ending up red flagging the session, it caused a massive dash for the bottom 5 cars to get a flying lap in and a chance at Q2. However, some cars were impeded by Fernando Alonso who came onto the run-off area at turn 15, causing cars behind him to slow and not improve their laps. However Valterri Bottas was one of the few to get a lapin, going 15th fastest with his final lap and sneaking into Q2 by the skin of his teeth. This saw Alex Albon, Nicholas Latifi, Kevin Magnusson & Mick Schumacher all stay within the bottom 5 and get knocked out in Q1.
Q2 once again wasn’t the best showing for the Aston Martin’s, with Sebastian Vettel also into the wall but at turn 15 after a big lock up, with the 4 time world champion complaining about his soft break pedal and as such not being able to stop before the wall. Daniel Ricciardo also looked to set his sights on Q3 especially with speculation around his future, however he ended up only 12th fastest. His teammate, Lando Norris also knocked out in Q1 along with Esteban Ocon and the two Alfa Romeo’s of Bottas and Zhou.
Q3 was set to be exciting and set another chapter in the battle between Red Bull and Ferrari this season. Early on Carlos Sainz was the man to beat setting a 1:48.8 with only 3 minutes on the clock. His teammate followed suit going slower by just 4 hundreths of a second, with Perez and Verstappen still needing to find a tenth to get onto the front row.
However, it was Charles Leclerc with an absolutely magnificent lap who set the fastest time late on. His sector 2 already 5 tenths ahead of Carlos Sainz, and by getting to the line was already 4 and a half tenths up on the top 4 cars with a 1:41.3. Verstappen thought he had bagged himself P2 with a 1:41.9 however a late Sergio Perez stormer through turn 16 and the run down the long straight helped him to beat Max by only 6 hundredths of a second. Elsewhere Carlos Sainz couldn’t improve, with George Russell starting on the 3rd row again for another grand prix with Mercedes. Gasly, Hamilton, Tsunoda, Vettel & Alonso all completing the top 10.
The result sees Charles’ on pole for the 6th time this season, continuing his form on from Monaco a couple of weeks ago. With Red Bull Team Principal mentioning the advantage Ferrari have over them in a single lap, lets see if Ferrari can live up to their straight line speed hype over 57 laps on Sunday.
Written by: WFCHenry
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