Sebastian Vettel went into qualifying knowing he would drop three places on the grid after the stewards found him to be going too quickly under red flags during FP2. The Toro Rossos of Gasly and Hartley also received grid penalties for engine changes and they will start at the back of the grid tomorrow.
The first time of qualifying was posted by Brendon Hartley on a 1:36.943. Pierre Gasly did go faster but lost his time after exceeding track limits. The Ferraris quickly went 1-2 in the very early stages, Vettel 0.3s ahead of Raikkonen.
Hamilton took over at the top from Bottas a while later as Mercedes showed strong speed. Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Verstappen completed the big six. The Dutchman hit a sausage kerb on the exit of T15 and damaged the right rear of his car
Alonso, Sirotkin, Ericsson, Vandoorne and Stroll were the bottom five after the initial attempts.
A flurry of late improvements saw a number of drivers move up and then back down into the drop zone, including Alonso and Vandoorne. Hartley pulled out a last-gasp lap to get through in P15. The biggest surprise was Ericsson as he could only manage to finish in P19 in the Sauber.
Alonso, Sirotkin, Stroll, Ericsson and Vandoorne exited in Q1.
16) Fernando Alonso 1:35.294
17) Sergey Sirotkin 1:35.362
18) Lance Stroll 1:35.480
19) Marcus Ericsson 1:35.536
20) Stoffel Vandoorne 1:35.735
After damaging his car in Q1, Max Verstappen failed to take part in the second segment of qualifying and it left him stranded down in P15.
There was a mix of strategies from the front-runners. Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel all chose the supersoft tyre, while Raikkonen went for the quicker ultrasoft to start the race on.
Bottas logged the opening time of the session with a 1:33.702. Raikkonen easily smashed that on the quicker tyre by almost 0.9s. Vettel was impressively close to the time set by the Finn and got within 0.2s on the slower tyre. Hamilton slotted into 3rd on a second attempt, 0.4 down on the Vettel who was using the same compound.
Behind the big four, Ricciardo led Leclerc, Grosjean, Ocon, Perez and Hulkenberg.
Carlos Sainz missed out on Q3 by a mere 0.002s, and only 0.044s covered the two Force Indias and Renaults. The Spaniard was joined by Magnussen, Gasly, Hartley and Verstappen in the knockout zone.
11) Carlos Sainz 1:34.566
12) Kevin Magnussen 1:34.732
13) Pierre Gasly NO TIME
14) Brendon Hartley NO TIME
15) Max Verstappen NO TIME
Into the final part of qualifying and Lewis Hamilton delivered a great lap to go quickest on the first fliers. The Brit clocked a 1:32.567, 0.088 in front of Vettel and 0.119 faster than Bottas. Raikkonen put in a disappointing opening attempt to be 0.4s off the top time.
Ricciardo, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Perez, Leclerc completed the order before the final runs began.
On the last attempts, Raikkonen briefly grabbed pole from Hamilton by a couple of tenths. However, the Brit responded and Hamilton beat the Finn by 0.070s. Vettel managed to slot in between them (+0.061) to qualify 2nd and he’ll start P5 on the grid.
Behind Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen came Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Leclerc and Perez.