Valtteri Bottas clinches pole position in Imola, Hamilton in P2

31-10-2020 14:00 | Updated: 31-10-2020 14:02
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Valtteri Bottas clinches pole position in Imola, Hamilton in P2

Valtteri Bottas has qualified on pole for Formula 1's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Finnish driver beats his teammate for just the fourth time on a Saturday in 2020 but ensures that Mercedes' 100% pole position record remains intact this season. Max Verstappen wasn't strong enough to split the two Mercedes drivers and will start Sunday's race from third-place.

Bottas' pole position in Imola is the 15th of his career and his first in Italy. The 31-year-old becomes the first driver to sit on pole in Imola since Michael Schumacher did so in 2006.

Pierre Gasly, in AlphaTauri's home race, will start from fourth-place. Daniel Ricciardo rounds out the top five. 

Verstappen and Red Bull Racing survived a major scare in Q2. Verstappen had a spark plug failure in his RB16, but the mechiancs managed to fix the problem with around four minutes remaining. 

On the first run of Q3, Hamilton marginally beat Bottas despite the Finnish driver setting faster times in sectors 1 and 2. Verstappen sat in third place, but Albon had his first lap deleted. Pierre Gasly completed the second-row, with Charles Leclerc rounding out the top five. 

On the second run of Q3, it was Bottas who improved the most. 

Q1

Under constant sunshine, qualifying got underway after just 90 minutes of practice ahead of the first important session of the Grand Prix weekend. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen set the first timed lap around Imola, setting a 1:17.186.

Hamilton quickly replaced the lead at the top of the timesheets. Initially, Bottas was running in second, but he had his time deleted and therefore dropped to P20. Albon joined him in the drop zone for the same reason at the half-way point.

Without any dramas Bottas jumped up the timesheets immediately, ensuring he didn't get knocked out of Q1 for the first time since Monaco 2015. Albon moved to P8.

Magnussen ran wide at the last corner, ruining his final push lap. Kimi Raikkonen had a time deleted while Antonio Giovinazzi made a mistake on his lap. 

OUT
16th - Grosjean
17th - Magnussen
18th - Raikkonen
19th - Latifi
20th - Giovinazzi

Q2

Verstappen reported power-related problems with his Red Bull car at the start of Q2. In the garage, his Red Bull mechanics frantically tried to repair the problem.

Albon had a spin and therefore joined his teammate in the drop zone. Lance Stroll, George Russell and Sebastian Vettel joined the Red Bull boys at the half-way point. Christian Horner reported that Verstappen had a spark plug problem which Red Bull fixed in time for the second run.

Under pressure and still on the medium tyres, Verstappen posted a 1:14.974 which lifted him to P6. Red Bull opted to run his teammate on the soft tyres, and the British-Thai climbed to 4th.

Lance Stroll had a time deleted in the second half of the session. Sergio Perez couldn't escape either meaning Racing Point had a double elimination.

OUT
11th - Perez
12th - Ocon
13th - Russell
14th - Vettel
15th - Stroll

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