Hamilton on pole as late yellow halts Bottas

Lewis Hamilton pic: Mercedes F1 Facebook

Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix after a yellow flag prevented Valtteri Bottas from mounting a late challenge.

A spin from Esteban Ocon as he begun his only Qualifying 3 flying lap drew the yellow flags as the Renault sat broadside to the circuit on driver’s left on the exit of Borgo San Lorenzo.

It prevented a number of runners from improving their times, most notably Bottas, as they all had to slow in the first sector.

By running ahead of Ocon on the road, Hamilton was able to complete his final flying lap uninterrupted but was not able to improve on his earlier effort.

Even still, his 1:15.144 set early in Qualifying 3 remained the benchmark figure as secured top spot for the championship leader.

Immediately behind him on the road, Max Verstappen also completed his lap without interruption but was similarly unable to better his previous time.

The Dutchman secured third on an all-Red Bull second row as Alex Albon set the fourth fastest lap.

Ferrari suffered a mixed session with Charles Leclerc fifth while Sebastian Vettel exited the session in Qualifying 2 with only the 14th best time.

Even then, the German was lucky to emerge from Qualifying 1 as he found himself in the drop zone as the chequered flag waved.

Only his final flying lap saw him escape, and even then only to 15th.

Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly was not so fortunate and found himself exiting the session at the first hurdle, the AlphaTauri driver joined by Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), George Russell (Williams), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), and Kevin Magnussen (Haas).

In Qualifying 2, a late effort from Lando Norris wasn’t enough to see him progress to the final phase of the three-part session, the McLaren driver recording the 11th best time of the session.

That saw him one place up on Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri) who ran wide at Arrabiatta 1 on his final flying lap. Next was Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Vettel, and Romain Grosjean (Haas).

The final part of qualifying saw two different schools of thinking, with the bulk of the field opting for a traditional two-run approach.

That saw most exit the lane early in the session to record a banker time, a critical decision for many as events would pan out.

Ocon and Sergio Perez opted for a different strategy.

In Ocon’s instance he simply didn’t lay down a banker lap, relying on a single flyer in the closing moments.

His spin midway around that lap meant the Frenchman did not set a time and was consigned to 10th by default.

Meanwhile, Perez ran off sequence, remaining in the garage for the opening minutes before emerging as the field headed back in the lane after their first timed laps.

It was the Racing Point driver’s sole effort in the session and landed him the sixth fastest time.

The Mexican will drop one spot on the grid, however, owing to a one-place penalty for his part in a tangle with Raikkonen during Practice 2 on Friday.

Behind Perez was his team-mate, Lance Stroll, then Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), and the beleaguered Ocon.

At the front of the field, the result marked Hamilton’s 95th Formula 1 pole position, while victory in Sunday’s race would move him to within one of equalling Michael Schumacher’s all-time record tally of 91.

Sunday’s Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix is scheduled to begin at 23:10 AEST.

Result: Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix, Qualifying

Pos Num Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.778 1:15.309 1:15.144
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.749 1:15.322 1:15.203
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:16.335 1:15.471 1:15.509
4 23 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing Honda 1:16.527 1:15.914 1:15.954
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:16.698 1:16.324 1:16.270
6 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:16.596 1:16.489 1:16.311
7 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1:16.701 1:16.271 1:16.356
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:16.981 1:16.243 1:16.543
9 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 1:16.993 1:16.522 1:17.870
10 31 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:16.825 1:16.297 DNF
11 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 1:16.895 1:16.640
12 26 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri Honda 1:16.928 1:16.854
13 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:17.059 1:16.854
14 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.072 1:16.858
15 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:17.069 1:17.254
16 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1:17.125
17 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1:17.220
18 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 1:17.232
19 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1:17.320
20 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:17.348

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