Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton to F1 Emilia Romagna GP pole at Imola as Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was third.
It was a tricky start to F1 Emilia Romagna GP qualifying at Imola, especially for Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull Racing’s Alexander Albon as they sat as the last two drivers after their first run due to track limits lap deletion at Turn 9 – for both.
But he improved on his second run to be first ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton as Albon slotted in eighth with teammate Max Verstappen in third. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen bogged out in 17th with a 1m15.939s behind Romain Grosjean (1m15.918s).
A late lap deletion for Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m15.953s) forced him to drop out in 18th as teammate Antonio Giovinazzi (1m16.208s) was 20th behind Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (1m15.987s, who managed to hook-up a good lap in the end.
The second part in F1 Emilia Romagna GP started with trouble for Verstappen as the Dutchman pitted at the end of his first lap due to power issues. He was on the medium tyres along with Albon, the two Mercedes cars and also Ferrari.
There was more trouble on Albon’s side as the Thai spun in the final sector on the lap he was improving on the medium tyres. He was forced to switch to the soft compound, while Ferrari also decided to switch compounds for both the cars.
It was an electrical issue for Verstappen but Red Bull mechanics managed to fix it up in time to get Verstappen out as he stuck with the medium tyres to end up fifth, while Albon also made it through on his final attempt on the soft tyre.
It was Bottas leading Hamilton at the front on the medium tyres with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly third on the soft compound. It was disaster for Racing Point as both the cars were out in Q2 as Sergio Perez led the way in 11th with a 1m15.061s.
Teammate Lance Stroll (1m15.494s) was in 15th after his quick lap was deleted due to track limits as he finished behind Renault’s Esteban Ocon (1m15.201s), Williams’ George Russell (1m15.323s) and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (1m15.385s).
The third part in F1 Emilia Romagna GP did not start well for Albon again as the Thai racer’s fifth fastest lap was deleted due to track limits at Turn 9. He had another all or nothing lap to do which he managed to eke out eventually to be sixth with a 1m14.572s.
But up front, Hamilton had provisional pole which was taken away by teammate Bottas (1m13.609s) as he beat the Brit (1m13.706s) by 0.097s to take F1 Emilia Romagna GP pole at Imola, with Verstappen (1m14.176s) rounding out the Top 3 position.
As expected, Gasly (1m14.502s) delivered to be fourth after AlphaTauri fully used its pre-season filming run at Imola as Daniil Kvyat (1m14.696s) slotted in eighth. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m14.520s) was fifth ahead of Albon.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (1m14.616s) was seventh with McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m1.814s) in ninth and Carlos Sainz (1m14.911s) in 10th rounded out the Top 10 finishers.