Sebastian Vettel made the quickest start to 2017 as the temperature on track dropped slightly after final practice – but the Mercedes boys weren’t out on track. Valtteri Bottas was the first one to make in-roads, then Hamilton took over top place in the rankings.
Stoffel Vandoorne had a problem, locking up and running off onto the grass and getting called in to box before he even recorded a time.
Fortunately for him, he managed to get back out with two minutes left on the clock; unfortunately for him, with cold tyres and one chance, he couldn’t record a decent time.
Antonio Giovinazzi, stepping in for Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein, looked impressive up until his final corner of the flying lap, when he lost his line and ended up outqualified by Marcus Ericsson.
OUT: Giovinazzi (Sauber), Magnussen (Haas), Vandoorne (McLaren), Stroll (Williams), Palmer (Renault)
Bottas took a three-hundredths of a second lead over Hamilton early on – significantly better than he managed against the Brit during practice, when he was always lagging behind.
Romain Grosjean had a bit of a whinge over the radio, claiming he was blocked by Ericsson. His team calmed him down and suggested he simply go again; when he did, he made it comfortably into Q3, declaring that he “gave it all”.
Sergio Perez had a similar problem with Felipe Massa, and Force India fired some Twitter shots, using the sainted words of Sebastian Vettel.
Then poor Fernando Alonso pulled into the pits having lost power in his McLaren as viewers around the world got the oddest sense of déjà vu.
OUT: Perez (Force India), Hulkenberg (Renault), Alonso (McLaren), Ocon (Force India), Ericsson (Sauber)
Some drops of rain began to fall, and the reigning world champion suddenly decided to let his former colleagues know he was watching.
Read the full article on eurosport.co.uk: F1 qualifying: Hamilton grabs pole, Ferraris in hot pursuit