Lewis Hamilton has pipped Valtteri Bottas to claim his ninth pole position start this year. The Mercedes duo battled it out till the very last moment in the qualifying session of the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix. Max Verstappen who seemed to be the only challenger to the Mercedes cars all season in the Red Bull will start third alongside Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. This is how qualifying went down at the Portimao circuit for this year’s Portuguese GP.
Q1 would set the grid for the bottom 5 drivers for the race on Sunday. In the latter moments of the 18-minute session, Kimi Raikkonen was the driver at risk. On his final run to the line, George Russell in the Williams managed to better the time set by the most experienced driver on the grid. This meant that Raikkonen along with his Alfa Romeo team-mate, Antonio Giovinazzi will start the race from 16th and 17th respectively. They will be ahead of the two Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in 18th and 19th. The second Williams of Nicolas Latifi will start from the back in 20th.
After Q2, the next five drivers who failed to make it through to Q3 include Esteban Ocon in the Renault who will start from 11th. Lance Stroll missed the last round of the Eifel Grand Prix which was said to be due to a positive covid-19 test. Racing Point claim that he was still getting to grips with the car, which resulted in him failing to make it through to Q3. Stroll will start from 12th ahead of Daniil Kvyat in the Alphatauri in 13th. George Russell will start ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel in 14th and 15th respectively.
The final session of Q3 was nail-biting down to the wire. Valtteri Bottas had dominated the weekend till the very last moment and was the favoured choice to claim pole. While the track conditions started to drop, Mercedes on their final run gambled by going on the medium tyres to set their times. Everyone else stayed on the soft compounds tyres. During their second outing in the session, Hamilton claimed provision pole, but Bottas bettered that time on his final run. However, Hamilton on a two-lap strategy was already on his way on improving his earlier time. As Hamilton brought his Mercedes across the line to set the fastest time, he claimed his ninth pole position this season.
His team-mate Bottas had to settle for second place on the grid for another Mercedes front-row lockout. Max Verstappen will start the race from third for Red Bull alongside Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari in fourth. Sergio Perez will start from fifth for Racing Point with the second Red Bull of Alex Albon alongside on the third row in sixth. The two McLarens claimed the fourth row with Carlos Sainz in seventh and Lando Norris in eighth on the grid. Pierre Gasly will start from ninth for AlphaTauri and Daniel Ricciardo in 10th for Renault.
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