Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by just six hundredths of a second to claim pole position for the first Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix. Max Verstappen will meanwhile line up at the front of an all-Red Bull second row, with team-mate Alex Albon in fourth place.
On the occasion of the team’s 1000th Formula 1 Grand Prix, Ferrari honor was upheld by Charles Leclerc who took fifth place on the grid.
In Q1, Bottas led the way ahead of the final, with the Finn taking P1 thanks to a lap of 1:15.749. That put him just three hundredths of a second ahead of Hamilton. Verstappen’s first run of 1:16.335 netted him third place ahead of the Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Sergio Pérez, while Albon slotted into P6 thanks to his opening lap of 1:17.018.
In the drop zone ahead of those final runs were Monza winner Pierre Gasly, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen, Williams’ George Russell and the Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
And while Räikkönen and Grosjean were able to claw their way to safety there was no escape for Gasly. The AlphaTauri driver briefly climbed to P15, but as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel dropped down the order and then bounced back, and as Grosjean vaulted to 14th, Gasly slipped to P16 and elimination ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, Russell, Nicholas Latifi and Magnussen.
The top three in Q1 remained static in the final runs but Albon went out for another run and a good lap saw him jump to P4 at the flag with a lap of 1:16.527, just under two tenths behind Verstappen.
The opening runs of Q2 saw Hamilton make his way to the top of the order for the first time in the weekend after Bottas had topped all three practice sessions.
The Briton opened his Q2 account with a lap of 1:15.309, which put him just 0.013s ahead of his team-mate. Verstappen once again took third place just 0.162 behind Hamilton, and Albon found his way to fourth place with a lap of 1:15.914, three tenths ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.
The top five stayed in the pit lane during the final runs and the order at the top remained static. Behind them, Stroll went through to Q3 in P6 ahead of the second Renault of Esteban Ocon, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and the second Racing Point of Pérez.
The final Q3 spot was taken by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, at the expense of his own team-mate Lando Norris who was eliminated ahead of AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat.
There was no late reprieve this time for Vettel, however. The Ferrari driver fell to P14 and was outpaced by Alfa Romeo’s Räikkönen. Grosjean too dropped out in P15.
Hamilton continued to set the pace in the first runs of Q3. The Briton took provisional pole with a lap of 1:15.144, six hundredths of a second ahead of Bottas. The Bulls once again took up residence in P3 and P4 with Verstappen four tenths of a second ahead of Albon.
Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez found his way to fifth with his sole, late lap of the segment to sit ahead of Ricciard, Leclerc, Sainz and Ocon who did not go out in the first runs.
The final runs looked set to be a tight contest but in the end there were few major improvements. Hamilton failed to find more time and when Bottas’ lap was compromised by yellow flags brought out by a spin for Ocon the championship leader coasted to his 95th career pole position.
Verstappen managed to make a small improvement on his final run but with the wind picking up during the final laps, the four hundredths of a second he found were not enough to dislodge Bottas from P2.
Albon also failed to make gains on his final flyer but even though Leclerc jumped to P5 with a good final lap, the Ferrari driver was still three tenths away from troubling the Thai driver.
Sergio Pérez qualified sixth for Racing Point ahead of Lance Stroll but the team-mates will swap places on the grid tomorrow as the Mexican driver is due to take a one-place grid penalty for a collision with Räikkönen in Friday practice. Daniel Ricciardo took eighth place for Renault ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, while Ocon will start from tenth on the grid.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.144 6 251.277
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.203 0.059 5 251.080
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:15.509 0.365 6 250.062
4 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:15.954 0.810 5 248.597
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:16.270 1.126 6 247.567
6 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:16.311 1.167 3 247.434
7 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:16.356 1.212 5 247.289
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:16.543 1.399 5 246.684
9 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:17.870 2.726 5 242.481
10 Esteban Ocon Renault 2
11 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:16.640 1.331 6 246.372
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:16.854 1.545 5 245.686
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:16.854 1.545 6 245.686
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:16.858 1.549 6 245.673
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:17.254 1.945 6 244.414
16 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:17.125 1.376 6 244.823
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:17.220 1.471 6 244.522
18 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:17.232 1.483 9 244.484
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:17.320 1.571 9 244.205
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:17.348 1.599 6 244.117