Valtteri Bottas edged Lewis Hamilton by 0.007s to clinch pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Mercedes duo both set their fastest laps on their first Q3 run. After that, the team switched both drivers from the soft to the medium tyre compound for the second run, but neither could better their own time.
“It’s a good feeling to be on pole,” Bottas said. “It feels like it’s been a while, so it was nice to get a good qualifying.
“It’s been a weak point for me in the first two races, getting the tyres to work.”
Max Verstappen will start third after his first lap was deleted for track limits, and he had a scruffy second attempt.
Sergio Perez completed the all-Red Bull second row, though Mercedes currently look to have the decisive edge in performance heading into tomorrow’s race.
Carlos Sainz was the leading Ferrari in fifth. The Spaniard had to use soft tyres to get into Q3 after making a mistake in Q2 while on the more durable medium tyre.
Esteban Ocon posted the sixth-best time, beating out Lando Norris in the lead McLaren.
The second McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo had a disastrous Q1 and was eliminated in the first part of qualifying. He will start 16th.
Riccardo hadn’t been knocked out of qualifying in Q1 since the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel – who made Q3 for the first time since joining Aston Martin – rounded out the top ten.
George Russel fell tantalisingly shy of a spot in the final segment, but his time in Q2 was good enough to earn him 11th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso were 12th and 13th. At the same time, Yuji Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen also failed to make the cut.
Lance Stroll was running with an upgraded Aston Martin for the weekend.
However, he proved to be significantly slower than his teammate Vettel. Stroll will start 17th.
Nicholas Latifi and the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin made up the final three placings.
The Portuguese Grand Prix is set to start at 2 am NZT, May 3.
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1m19.039s|