Verstappen will start ahead of Mercedes cars Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas after the hour-long qualifying session, which is split into three segments with five cars each eliminated in Q1 and Q2 before the Q3 top 10 shootout.
What happened in the first trimester?
Yuki Tsunoda caused an early red flag when he spun his AlphaTauri into Turn 1 and peeked at the tire with his rear spoiler. Tsunoda was unable to engage first gear, after the car’s rear axle shook violently as it slid back, and was out of the session moments after it started.
On the restart, Bottas set the initial pace at 1m31.669s, Hamilton only 0.023s slower. Then Verstappen set the bar to 1m31.001s – 0.668s faster than the Mercedes duo – with Sergio Perez second in second, 0.559s less than his teammate.
Hamilton stayed on the sidelines for an extended second lap, producing a time of 1m31.237 to move up to second place, but was still 0.236s behind Verstappen.
A second red flag in the last minute of the session, for Mick Schumacher who crashed his Haas at turn 6, meant the fall at the first hurdle was Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (by just 0.002s), Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and the second Haas Nikita Mazepin, with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll (who lost one lap time due to going over track limits and another due to traffic) and Tsunoda.
Schumacher reached Q2 for the first time, in 14th position, but would not participate due to damage to the two left corners of his car against the barrier.
What happened in the second trimester?
In Q2, the vast majority of the peloton went out on medium tires, to avoid going on soft if they qualified for the top 10 shots on goal.
Perez set the benchmark at 1m30.971s, a tenth faster than Verstappen. Hamilton then jumped to the top on his second pushing lap, producing 1m30.959 – 0.012s faster than Perez.
Bottas was the fastest in his second run on medium tires, his 1.30.735 being 0.053s faster than Hamilton’s 1.30.788.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), George Russell (Williams) and Schumacher have been eliminated at this point.
What happened in the third trimester?
In the top 10 shots on goal, Verstappen set the tone after the first set with a time of 1m30.325s, 0.386s ahead of Hamilton, followed by Perez and Bottas. Carlos Sainz Jr was the best of the rest for Ferrari.
On the second heats, Verstappen lowered the P1 time to 1m29.990s. Hamilton’s best effort was 1m30.248s, 0.258s behind. Bottas took third place from Perez, with Sainz again leading the rest.
Pierre Gasly lost his first lap for overshooting the limits of the track at turn 6, but returned to sixth place for AlphaTauri, ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lando Norris (McLaren), Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren).