Leclerc takes comfortable pole, Hamilton demoted by penalty

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Leclerc took the pole that was written in the stars all weekend for him to take. Hamilton took second place, but is under investigation for hindering Raikkonen in Q1. Verstappen took sensationally 3th spot at Red Bull's home track and in front of Verstappen's many Dutch fans.

Q1

First to set a lap is Kubica, but a time 3 seconds off the fp3 time of Leclerc. The usual midfield team swapped top times while the top teams stayed in. Hamilton on his outlap blocked Raikkonen while the latter was on a fast lap. Hamilton did try to get out of the way by leaving the track, but still hindered Raikkonen from taking the apex of the hairpin.

Leclerc took the top spot on the medium tyre, while Vettel -also on the medium- only managed 3th. The 2 Mercedes' tried the soft tyres, but their early times weren't good enough. However, they fuel on board for several consecutive times and gradually improved. Vettel was also trying to push for a better lap, but went wide over the yellow sausage kerbs.

6 minutes to go and Verstappen looked set to beat Leclerc's time. His final sector was however not good enough and had to slot in behind the young Monagask.

At the rear of the field the usual suspects are the 2 Williams cars, with in front of them a tight battle for the last Q2 places between Toro Rosso, Racing Point and Raikkonen.

In the last few minutes, things got tight on the track with cars on the outlap blocking the Toro Rosso of Kvyat on a hot lap. Kvyat had to take evasive action in the penultimate corner at very high speeds.Verstappen finally got below the time of Leclerc, with Hamilton slotting in behind Verstappen. Ousted at Q1 were Perez, Stroll, Kvyat, Russel and Kubica.

Q2

Leclerc got warned the wind picked up in turn 1. The top teams got out early, with both the Mercedes' and Verstappen on the medium tyres, while Ferrari opted for the soft compound. Verstappen took top spot momentarily before Vettel and Leclerc comfortably slotted in 2d and 1st respectively. In the meanwhile, the incident between Hamilton and Raikkonen might get a tail as it is being noted to be investigated after the qualifying sessions. Magnussen broke his front wing on the the cursed sausage kerbs, with Vettel seemingly also picking up damage on the same place at his floor.

The ones not making the cut were Hulkenberg, Sainz, Albon, Ricciardo and Grosjean. Hulkenberg also has his 5 position grid penalty for changing his ICE.

Q3

the first 2 drivers to set a time were Raikkonen and Giovinazzi, with the other drivers waiting it a bit out. In the meanwhile frantic repairs on Vettel are ongoing. Mercedes set a time around halway the final session, but Leclerc beat their times into oblivion. Meanwhile Verstappen puts up a good show for his many Dutch fans by beating an average Hamilton so far. Drama at the Ferrari box as Vettel exits his cockpit, condemning him to 9th place (magnussen has to 5 positions back due a gearbox change penalty), with a provision for a potential penalty of Hamilton.

With a final dash to improve laptimes, nobody proved good enough to beat the seemingly invincible Leclerc. Hamilton came close to Leclerc's original time, but Leclerc went up and over. Bottas dissapointingly got condemned to P4, after seeming much more comfortable in the car all weekend than Hamilton. Verstappen confirmed his strong pace at the home track of Red Bull by taking the thirth slot, again with potential for another grid gain should Hamilton get penalized. Norris took a sensational 5th place, confirming the momentum McLaren has. Raikkonen and Giovinazzi took 6th and 7th. Gasly continues to struggle and only took 9th.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
116Charles LeclercFerrari1:04.1381:03.3781:03.00319
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:03.8181:03.8031:03.26227
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:03.8071:03.8351:03.43918
477Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:04.0841:03.8631:03.53725
520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:04.7781:04.4661:04.07220
64Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:04.3611:04.2111:04.09919
77Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:04.6151:04.0561:04.16623
899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:04.4501:04.1941:04.17922
910Pierre GaslyRed Bull Racing Honda1:04.4121:03.9881:04.19918
105Sebastian VettelFerrari1:04.3401:03.667-9
118Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:04.5521:04.490-18
1227Nico HulkenbergRenault1:04.7331:04.516-12
1323Alexander AlbonScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:04.7081:04.665-15
143Daniel RicciardoRenault1:04.6471:04.790-12
1555Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault1:04.4531:13.601-12
1611Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:04.789--8
1718Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:04.832--9
1826Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:05.324--8
1963George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:05.904--12
2088Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes1:06.206--11

Note - Sainz and Albon to start from back of grid due to multiple power unit element changes.
Magnussen drops five grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.
Hulkenberg drops five grid places for use of additional power unit element.
Hamilton and Russell penalised three grid places for impeding another driver during qualifying.
Russell to start from pitlane as Williams changed front wing due to damage (to a different specification)