Qualifying yesterday threw up few surprises, with Mercedes locking out the front row for the millionth time in the turbo-hybrid era, Lewis Hamilton pipping Valtteri Bottas by under a tenth, also for the millionth time in the turbo hybrid era. Here’s what the soon-to-be seven-time F1 world champion had to say about his Saturday afternoon.
It’s a really challenging circuit and as you saw Valtteri was quicker than me all day yesterday and even this morning, and even in Q1. I’ve been working so hard in the background to really try to improve on my lines, improve on my set-up and with the engineers we did such a great job. The mechanics as always did an amazing job. I finally got the lap I needed. At the end there I think the wind picked up so I wasn’t able to go any quicker but nonetheless it was a job done.
Bottas was hindered in the last runs in Q3 by the yellow flags brought out by a spinning Esteban Ocon. Hamilton was unable to improve which would have given the Finn an opportunity, but having to slow down ruined any chance he had of taking advantage of it, which was a shame.
Further down the field, Red Bull locked out the second row with Max Verstappen a respectable three or so tenths behind with Alexander Albon his usual half-second slower than his team-mate. Pierre Gasly, last week’s winner, was eliminated in Q3.
What will the race bring? Well, hopefully the action will be better than expected as the track does not look that great for overtaking in these modern F1 cars. In any case, I’ll be here for the next few hours to take you through all of it.