Q1 began with the unusual sight of Paul Di Resta climbing back into a Formula 1 car, after Williams’ Felipe Massa was not cleared to drive for the weekend, following an illness.
This marked the first time a Brazilian driver had not been on the grid since 1982, and meant that Di Resta was the first British driver to drive for Williams since Jenson Button in 2000.
The session started with hints that Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo may suffer from engine hydraulic issues, however the problem was quickly sorted.
Q1 demonstrated that the McLaren’s of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne seemed to be benefitting from the track, whereas Williams and Force India seemed to be suffering more.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat spun at Turn 4, causing yellow flags to be waved, compromising Force India’s Sergio Perez’s lap, however this did not affect either driver, as both managed to get through to Q2.
OUT IN Q1: Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll, Pascal Wehrlein, Paul Di Resta, Marcus Ericsson.
Q2 began with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton complaining of vibrations, which may have been amplified by the fact he ran over the large curb at Turn 4.
However, this did not seem to restrict the Brit much, as he set the fastest time in the session.
Force India’s difficulties continued, as both Perez and his teammate Esteban Ocon failed to make it into Q3.
OUT IN Q2: Jolyon Palmer, Esteban Ocon, Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean.
Hamilton’s vibration problems seemed to continue into Q3, as the 3-time World Champion unusually only went out once in the session.
Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz opted for the same strategy, which ultimately did not benefit the Spaniard, as he qualified 10th.
Following FP3 earlier in the day, the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen remained strong in the final few minutes of Qualifying for Vettel to snatch pole position, followed by Raikkonen to complete a Ferrari front row lock-out. The German also set the track record with a blistering time of 1:16.276.
They were followed by the Silver Arrows of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton, and then by the Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Ricciardo. A disappointing result for the Bulls after seeing Ricciardo on strong form on Friday, however anything can happen in the race.