Not even an unfamiliar track could slow the Mercedes F1 pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on Saturday.
Hamilton and Bottas qualified 1-2 for Sunday’s Formula 1 Tuscany Grand Prix, ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified on the third row.
The qualifying effort marked the eighth consecutive first-row qualifying sweep for Mercedes. For Hamilton, it was fourth straight pole, seventh in the past eight races and record-extending 95th for his career.
Mercedes has been on the pole every race this season.
“It’s been a really, really tough weekend,” Hamilton said. “This track is phenomenal. It’s a really challenging circuit. Valtteri was quicker than me all day yesterday and even in practice this morning and in Q1. I’ve been working so hard in the background trying to improve on my lines, improve on the setup.”
Bottas qualified second and was making a bid for the pole on a final flying lap in Q3 before a yellow flag aborted the effort. Still, Bottas expects a race, and not a parade, on Sunday.
“Coming into the weekend, we thought it would be nearly impossible (to pass),” Bottas said. “But we experienced the practice sessions and the track is so wide, there’s so many different lines you can take in the corners.”
Verstappen is on the comeback trail after he fell to third in the points at Monza a week ago. There, he qualified fifth and retired early with engine issues to finish 17th in the race. He trails Hamilton by 64 points in the standings.
“I personally never expected to really fight (Mercedes) on the qualifying (today),” Verstappen said. “So far this weekend has been really promising. I think we bounced back well from Monza where it was tricky, so at the end to be third in qualifying, we can be very happy with that. “
If there was a surprise in qualifying, it came from the same driver who gave everyone a shocking performance last week. F1 Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri failed to make it out of Q1. He was knocked out of the top-15 in the final seconds of the opening session by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“We know we are faster than where we are now,” Gasly said.
F1 Tuscany Grand Prix
Source: Read Full Article