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Qualifying: Leclerc storms to pole at Spa

  • Published on 31 Aug 2019 16:12
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Charles Leclerc has taken his third career pole position in Formula 1, beating teammate Sebastian Vettel to the top spot by seven-tenths of a second. 

Vettel jumped into second place on his final lap after having a scruffy opening lap in Q3, which put him third behind the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. 

Ferrari's pace advantage that it has seemingly had all through the weekend kept up in qualifying, as Hamilton was almost eight-tenths down on pole-sitter Leclerc. 

Valtteri Bottas was fourth in his first qualifying for Mercedes since it was announced that he would stay for the 2020 season. 

Max Verstappen endured a tough session, as he struggled with power issues during the first stage of qualifying that affected him during the Friday practice sessions. 

However, the Dutchman's fastest lap was six-tenths faster than former teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was sixth fastest - however the Renault driver will drop five positions due to engine penalties, as will teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified in seventh. 

In his debut qualifying for Red Bull, Alexander Albon advanced to Q2 but didn't set a representative lap time, as he is starting from the rear of the field on Sunday after fitting a new Honda power unit.

Despite an injury scare ahead of the weekend, Kimi Raikkonen managed to set the eighth fastest lap time, which will see him start sixth when Renault's penalties are applied.

He got the better of Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen, who rounded out the top ten.

After displaying strong pace and form before the summer break, McLaren failed to reach Q3, with Carlos Sainz dropping out after just the first session.

His final run was ruined when a red flag was deployed for Antonio Giovinazzi, who had pulled to the side of the track with an apparent engine problem.

It was the second red flag of the session as not long after the commencement of Q1, Robert Kubica's Mercedes engine started billowing smoke before he could lay down a lap time.

Pierre Gasly also dropped out of Q1 on his return to Toro Rosso, as did his teammate Daniil Kvyat, who has a hefty grid penalty due to exceeding the quota for engine parts. 

BE Spa-Francorchamps - 31 August 2019

Photos Belgium 2019

Replies (3)

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  • abhidbgt

    Posts: 235

    A rather straightforward session I would say. Compared to last year's qualifying session much less tension. :D

    • + 0
    • Aug 31 2019 - 16:28
  • Pretty good session. Still surprised Ferrari was so dominant, but I expect Merc' to fight back with their great race pace. The Ferraris will probably be hard to overtake at those massive straights, even with that OP DRS, but Merc' should be better at the remainder of the track.

    A bit concerned by all the PU blowouts and general woes from this session. I wonder how healthy Max' PU is, and I am 90% certain Hulk will retire due to a blown engine. Either his Renault was trying to "communicate using smoke signals" again, or that PU is a blower. This is why I kinda think 3 of some PU bits and 2 of others are too few. It's clear even the best suppliers ain't up to lasting an entire season yet, meaning the teams will lose out cash in terms of points, repairing a blown car AND fetching that additional allocation.

    • + 0
    • Aug 31 2019 - 17:50
  • f1ski

    Posts: 555

    cooler temps will preserve power units but to me the amazing fact was that in qualifying how the Mercedes was faster in the speed trap. How much more power does the MB make in party mode. With the cooler temps the Ferrari will suffer on the mediums and the RBR may make a run.

    • + 0
    • Aug 31 2019 - 23:27

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