Although there was some hope for a close fight between Mercedes and Red Bull coming into the qualifying session, the Anglo-German team proved once again too fast for its closest rival when it really mattered.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lit up the timing screens in the third and final practice to top that session, giving some hope for a thrilling battle, in the all-important qualifying session. However, the Mercedes duo was once again dominant with the W11 that has not been developed since the Spanish Grand Prix.
In the end, Mercedes locked out the front row for the 75th time in their history while Lewis Hamilton secured his 98th career pole position. Verstappen’s third place meant that the trio of the Dutchman, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were the top-three qualifiers again and that happened for the ninth time in the last 12 races.
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 1st, 1: 27.264
"Ninety-eight poles, wow! There is always more time to find, small places to improve, but it was a really clean lap for me today. I'm not sure why, but I've felt so clear-minded this weekend. I just wanted to have fun today and that's the most important thing for me. I've been doing this a long time now, but I still love this challenge, of trying to understand the tyres, fine-tuning the car. I love what I do, and I can still feel myself improving all the time. And you can see it's not just me, but everyone in the garage too is just enjoying their work.
"The pressure of fighting for a championship is immense, but with the titles both secure that gives me that feeling of release to go out and drive like I did today. Today is the continuation of the special things that we're achieving as a team. Weekend in weekend out I'm amazed by this group of people. No matter what has been thrown at us this year we've risen to it. For me it's important to use these final three more races to learn as much as possible and carry that on into next year."Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:27.553
"My second Q3 lap actually felt good today - but that's the tricky part when you feel like you're extracting everything out of the car and there's still lap time missing. I made no mistakes and my last lap felt were good so we need to find out this evening in the debrief if there are areas we can improve around the lap. Lewis and I went into different set-up directions with the cars, so that might have played a role. But it's great to have another front row lockout for the team today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow; it'll be an interesting race with different strategies and everyone trying to keep the tyres from overheating, so I think we can expect a good fight."
Red BullMax Verstappen, 3rd, 1:27.678
“My lap felt pretty good but we just lacked a bit of rear grip in the low speed corners but overall it was quite a decent qualifying. Of course I would have liked to fight for pole but if that is not possible I think it is ok to start third and on the clean side of the grid. Let’s see how we go tomorrow in the race because it’s very hard on tyres here so hopefully we’ve made the right compromise on that. We have different tyres to choose from so hopefully that works to our favour but we’ll see. It’s always difficult to say if we can fight Mercedes and I definitely think they picked up their pace today but I will try and keep as close as possible and hopefully find an opportunity.”Alex Albon, 4th, 1:28.274
"It feels good to equal my best quali, I did want more from the session but if you look how it was 24 hours ago, this was a good result. Starting on the second row puts us in a good position to take the fight to Mercedes. Coming from FP3, the car was feeling really strong and I was ready to push hard in qualifying. We were surprisingly quick today compared to yesterday but I haven’t done a long run yet so let’s see how that goes tomorrow! I’ll be starting on the mediums tomorrow, I think the deg will be high so managing the tyres will be crucial. It will be a fun race for the fans to watch, that’s for sure.”
Racing PointSergio Perez, 5th, 1:28.322
“P5 is a great result for the team and I’m very happy with our performance. We were able to be really decisive on the strategy and get through Q1 by using just one set of the soft tyres, which was absolutely the right call and meant we could use two sets of new soft tyres in Q3. When you look at the fact that I found two tenths on my second run in Q3, that call helped earn us several spots on the grid. It was a good lap at the end of Q3, although I think I lost a little bit of time in Turn 13 that might have helped me get P4.
"It’s a real shame what happened to Lance in Q2 because his pace looked good, but I’m sure he can recover in the race tomorrow and score points, which will be crucial in a close midfield battle. It’s a good result today for me but qualifying isn’t so representative here. What matters is strong race pace, which I think we have, and it’ll be important to get a strong start and make good strategy calls. It looks like a two or three-stop race tomorrow, so there’s plenty to play for and the goal is to score big points.”Lance Stroll, 13th, 1:29.557
“We made some changes to the car after FP3 that really paid off and I was happy with the balance of the car going into qualifying, which we demonstrated in Q1 by going P2. Unfortunately, the red flag during Q2 ended up having a big impact on us. After the red flag, there was a miscommunication that cost us a potential place in Q3. We went out on a used set of mediums, when the rest of the field were on new tyres and it stopped us from having any chance of getting into Q3. We’ll review the situation tonight as a team, learn from it, and move on. The positive to take is that from P13 on the grid we have a free tyre choice. It’s possible to overtake here and strategy is important, so we can make progress. We can aim for the points and I’m happy with the pace of the car, so it’s all to play for tomorrow in the race.”
“I’m happy with the top six today. It was very close, but I was pleased with my lap to put us up there at the top end of the timesheets. I used both new sets in Q1 so I only had one new set in Q3 and maybe with an additional run it could have been a little better. It’s still good, though, and I’m happy Esteban is up there as well. It’s important for the Constructors’ and we need to put pressure on Sergio [Perez] tomorrow. I think the race will be interesting. The compounds are softer than last year, so I’ll be surprised if it’s a one-stop tomorrow. I’m sure we’ll see some variety on strategy.”Esteban Ocon, 7th, 1:28.419
“The car felt awesome today and I’m very happy with our qualifying result. It was a good lap in Q3 with just 0.002secs between Daniel and I, which is almost as tight as it gets! Overall, we produced a good session and it was very well managed by the team. We got through Q1 on one set and then in Q2 we managed to qualify in the top ten on Mediums. It’s great that we have both cars in the top ten, but it’s not done yet. We know tomorrow’s race will feature high degradation and a lot is likely to happen. We’ll have to fight hard to score solid points tomorrow.”
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 8th, 1:28.448
“It’s really positive to get both cars into Q3 today, but as for myself, even if I’m happy for the team, deep inside I’m still a bit disappointed with P8. I don’t really know how to feel about it because we looked really strong all weekend, so I wanted a bit more. It was so tight, only a tenth to P5 and I would have liked to be on that third row tomorrow, but that’s how it is and I think it’s still a decent place to start the race. I expect pretty exciting battles on track tomorrow and I think we have the potential to fight for a good position. Strategy-wise, it will be pretty unusual and interesting, so I think we’ll see many different options between the teams. Tyre degradation will be the key factor, so I’m looking forward to it.”Daniil Kvyat, 10th, 1:28.618
“I’m quite happy with how qualifying went as it was a good and competitive session. Q2 was very solid, we had one shot with a different compound and we took it, there was quite a bit of pressure on us, but we managed. I wasn’t too happy with my Q3 lap, as I made a couple of mistakes and maybe we took a slightly wrong direction with the front wing. Nevertheless, it was a strong Qualifying and puts us in a good position to have a strong race tomorrow. The tyres suffer a lot around here, so it will be different from what we’ve experienced so far this year. Of course, there were some races where the tyres were tricky, but tomorrow will certainly be an interesting challenge.”
McLarenCarlos Sainz, 15th, No time set in Q2
“Very disappointing day today. I was feeling comfortable with the car and managed to go through Q1 with only one set of tyres, saving two new sets of Softs for Q3. We obviously hit an issue at the start of Q2, which locked up the rear axle and that was it. It’s very frustrating that I couldn’t qualify higher despite having strong pace. We start on the back foot for tomorrow, so we need to decide carefully which is the best strategy, taking into account that the top-10 qualified on the Mediums. Tough one, but we won’t give up and I’ll give it my all in the race to recover as many positions as possible.”Lando Norris, 9th, 1:28.542
“A tough quali today, because of the tyre differences and the red flag. So, it was quite a messy qualifying but the same for everyone. We did a good job with the tyres and getting the car turned around quickly. We had a slight issue with the car in the first run of Q1, but other than that my only bad run was on the very final set where I made a mistake at Turn One. It cost me probably a tenth which was a good few positions today, so I’m quite frustrated and annoyed – but I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow.”
FerrariSebastian Vettel, 11th, 1:29.149
“Being able to do just a single lap is never ideal and that was clearly the case in Q2 today. We missed the cut to the next stage by a little over a tenth, but on my only quick lap, I first had George Russell ahead of me, which stopped me getting a tow from Charles, and then I didn’t manage to have a perfect second sector. That just adds to the disappointment because even if we expected to be in the midfield here, we could just as easily have been in the top ten rather than on the sixth row.
"All the same, I am confident that the team can still bring home a good amount of points tomorrow. Because of the track characteristics, the race will be mainly about tyre management and I think that we can do something good on that score. We will have to be as sly as a fox, be patient and make no mistakes.”
Charles Leclerc, 12th, 1:29.165 "After FP3 I didn’t think we could have ended up higher than P12, but looking back at how quali went, I feel I could have done a better job here and there, so I cannot hide the fact that I’m disappointed not to make it to the top ten. Seb and I are the first on the grid to have the freedom of going for a different strategy but I don’t think this is going to be much of an advantage, to be honest, since starting on the Medium seems like the best option and the top ten will be starting on the Medium too. It’s going to be a tricky race where tyres will overheat quickly so managing them will be key."
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 17th, 1:29.810
“I feel we made a step forward with the car compared to the previous session of the weekend. The car felt better than before but it was still a tricky session and to go out in Q1 was of course not ideal. It is what it is, let’s see what we can do tomorrow. We have been better in the races so far so hopefully we can make up some ground.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 16th, 1:29.491
“My fastest lap was really good and we were so close to making it to Q2, only missing out for less than half a tenth. It’s obviously frustrating but all we can do is focus on tomorrow. I was quite happy with the car but we know it will be a challenging race, especially with tyre degradation being quite high around here. Managing them and getting the strategy right will be crucial: let’s see what we can do from here and if we can bring home a good result.”
HaasRomain Grosjean, 19th, 1:30.138
“We tried as hard as we could, but you cannot be happy when you’re P19. When you’re a competitor you want to fight for good positions. My last lap was actually quite good through the first two sectors. The last one I tried to push a bit more – go the way I enjoy driving the car and have done in the past. The car couldn’t quite take it, so I lost a bit of time. It wouldn’t have changed the world but I’m just trying to enjoy these last three races.”Kevin Magnussen, 18th, 1:30.111
“It’s not been an unusual Saturday. Unfortunately, this is where we are - I don’t think we had a bad qualifying in terms of considering the car we have, we got the most out of it. It was a normal Saturday for us. There are at least always opportunities in the race, we just have to hope for that again tomorrow. We have to try and capitalise on situations if they come our way – something like a Safety Car. Fingers crossed that one of those things that we need happens tomorrow in the race.”
"It was a very good session and I am happy to have qualified P14. It was amazing to do a good lap and get into Q2, particularly having missed FP1 and then had tricky sessions in FP2 and FP3. That was all we could hope for as the midfield is too far ahead but to outqualify the Haas and the Alfa, and to capitalise on the issue Carlos [Sainz] had was great. I was on a used tyre for Q2, as we wanted to retain two fresh sets of the medium tyre for tomorrow. The race will be difficult, but we will try our best and do everything we can."
Nicholas Latifi, 20th, 1:30.182
"I was pretty pleased with my lap, but there was a big gap to George so it shows that the potential of the car is there. There are a few set-up differences between us as we went in slightly different directions, so that could account for some of the time difference. We need to look into it and see what we could have done better. Ultimately in the race tomorrow the tyre degradation is going to play the biggest factor in the result. We will try and get on top of that, manage that well and have a good strategy."