On Friday, it was confirmed that Pierre Gasly would start at the back of the grid for the second straight weekend after another power unit change.
Gasly was the first driver who banked the opening time of qualifying on a 1:17.875.
Valtteri Bottas briefly went P1 before his time got beaten by Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton. The Red Bulls came out and beat Vettel’s time to occupy the top two spots, Verstappen ahead of Ricciardo.
However, after doing their first runs on the ultrasofts, Mercedes switched to the ultrasofts and they went 1-2, with Bottas beating Hamilton by just under a tenth.
Vandoorne, Magnussen, Stroll, Sirotkin and Alonso were in the bottom five before the final attempts began.
A series of late improvements from the midfield runners saw the order change a lot in the final minute. Vandoorne had climbed to 9th but ended up in 17th moments later. The Force Indias led the Class B order in Q1 as Charles Leclerc scraped through in P15.
Grosjean, Vandoorne, Magnussen, Stroll and Sirotkin dropped out at the end of the first session.
16) Romain Grosjean 1:16.911
17) Stoffel Vandoorne 1:16.966
18) Kevin Magnussen 1:17.599
19) Lance Stroll 1:17.689
20) Sergey Sirotkin 1:17.886
The top three teams all chose the ultrasoft tyre for Q2 following clear signs of high degradation on the hypersofts on Friday.
Verstappen went quickest, 0.004 in front of Hamilton and 0.075 ahead of Vettel. Ricciardo, Bottas and Raikkonen completed the big six. Hulkenberg, Sainz, Leclerc and Ericsson rounded out the top 10 after the first runs – and it stayed that way at the end of the session.
Hartley, Perez, Ocon (both Force Indias ran on supersofts), Alonso and Gasly were the drivers in the bottom five before the final fliers began.
Ocon and Perez put on the ultrasofts for their last attempts but failed to get through in P11 and P13. Alonso did a brilliant job to split them and qualify P12.
Hartley and Gasly in the Toro Rossos got knocked out in Q2 as well.
11) Esteban Ocon 1:16.844
12) Fernando Alonso 1:16.871
13) Sergio Perez 1:17.167
14) Brendon Hartley 1:17.184
15) Pierre Gasly NO TIME
Sebastian Vettel produced the first ever lap below 75 seconds to put down a big benchmark in the very early stages. Yet, Max Verstappen managed to respond and beat the German by almost 0.2s with a stunning 1:14.785. Hamilton, Ricciardo, Bottas and Raikkonen came next. 0.545s covered the top 6 after the opening attempts.
Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Ericsson was the Class B order following the first runs.
On the final runs, Daniel Ricciardo stunned his teammate by snatching pole from the young Dutchman by 0.026s. Verstappen completed a front-row lock-out for Red Bull. Hamilton managed to pip Vettel to P3 on the grid with an improvement on his second run. The Finns of Bottas and Raikkonen will start on row three.
Hulkenberg, Sainz, Leclerc and Ericsson completed the top 10 as the Renaults jumped the young man from Monaco in the closing seconds.