After a heavy crash in FP3, Mick Schumacher was handed a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Haas tried to repair the German’s car for qualifying but ran out of time.
The first time of qualifying was posted by Yuki Tsunoda as he clocked a 1:18.163, but was soon beaten by the Alfa Romeos of Raikkonen and Giovinazzi.
Valtteri Bottas was the first of the big guns to post a lap on a 1:16.610. However, a 1:16.484 by Lewis Hamilton put him on top briefly, before he was beaten by Verstappen as the Dutchman went fastest by 0.210s.
Behind the top three, Sainz was P4 ahead of Gasly, Norris, Leclerc, Alonso, the struggling Perez and Ocon.
Tsunoda, Russell, Latifi, Mazepin and Schumacher were in the knockout zone ahead of the final runs.
Surprisingly, Tsunoda and Russell didn’t improve their positions at the end. Despite improving, they remained P16 [Tsunoda over a second off Gasly] and P17 as both Alfa Romeos made it through to Q2. Latifi, Mazepin and Schumacher also exited at the end of Q1.
As expected, the two Mercedes’ and the two Red Bulls put on the mediums to try and start the race on them.
Lewis Hamilton clocked a stunning 1:16.553 to put himself 0.216s in front of Verstappen. The soft tyre runners of Leclerc, Alonso, Vettel and Gasly all got in front of Bottas and Perez as the Finn and Mexican dropped to P7 and P8.
A red flag was brought out by Carlos Sainz as he suddenly lost the rear in turn 14 on his flying lap and hit the wall, breaking his front wing and was unable to get back to the pits with his car.
Norris, Stroll, Raikkonen, Sainz and Giovinazzi sat in the bottom five before the final fliers started.
The track ramped up massively at the end of the session as Verstappen clocked a 1:15.650 as he posted his best time on the softs. Norris, Gasly, Perez, Alonso, Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas, Ocon and Vettel joined him in Q3. Only the Mercedes’ of Hamilton and Bottas made it through on the medium compound and will start on that tyre tomorrow.
Ricciardo, Stroll, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi and Sainz were knocked out after a thrilling end to Q2.
On the first runs of Q3, Hamilton put in a storming 1:15.419 to beat Bottas by 0.315s and was over half a second clear of Max Verstappen. Perez went 4th, but was over a second off Hamilton.
Leclerc, Ocon, Gasly, Ocon, Norris and Vettel completed the top 10. Vettel moved up to P8 as he ran in the gap before the final laps of qualifying commenced.
Hamilton didn’t improve but comfortably kept pole position from Bottas and Verstappen. The Dutchman could only slightly improve as he remained in P3. Perez didn’t make the line in time for his final run as some gamesmanship went on during the out-lap.
Perez, Gasly, Norris, Leclerc, Ocon, Alonso and Vettel rounded out the top 10.