Lewis Hamilton has put in a monstrous last lap in Q3 to snatch pole position for the Portuguese Grand Prix from teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas had topped every session until the final shootout where the Mercedes duo exited the pitlane for their last runs on the medium tyre.
With track advantage, Hamilton was able to set a benchmark time with enough breathing room to circle the Algrave circuit again before commencing another flying lap.
Bottas managed to pip Hamilton’s initial time just as Max Verstappen split the Silver Arrows in the soft tyre-shod Red Bull.
But Hamilton managed to do a second quick lap on the mediums, and he found enough time to defeat Bottas by 0.102 seconds.
Charles Leclerc put in a sublime Q2 lap to qualify using the medium tyres. The Monegasque then backed that result up by surging to the fourth in the final segment of qualifying.
It is a yet another nightmare performance for his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel whose 15th place start means the four-time world champion’s run on Q2 eliminations is extended to eight.
Sergio Perez landed a top-five result, knocking the sister Red Bull of Alex Albon to sixth.
Surprisingly, very few lap times were deleted during the one-hour qualifying session. With very few drivers had ever raced on the circuit, strict track limits have been imposed for the weekend.
The earlier three practice sessions saw a combined total of 125 lap times deleted as drivers came up to speed with challenging nature of the circuit.
The only real incident in qualifying came in Q2 when Daniel Ricciardo spun in the closing stages of his final run. The Renault skated through the gravel trap before nudging the barrier with his ring wing.
He was able to excavate from the gravel, but his Renault team were able to replace the rear wing in time for Q3, and thus he will start tenth.
Ricciardo still ended the session just ahead of his teammate Esteban Ocon whose dip in form suggests Renault may have a difficult race on their hands tomorrow.
Starting behind Ocon will be Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat and George Russell, starred once again for the ailing Williams outfit to qualify 14th and ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
Kimi Raikkonen was the lead car knocked out in Q1, ahead of his Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi and recently ousted Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
|Carlos Sainz Jr.