The first Qualifying session of the 2021 season has been completed with Verstappen taking the honours.
It seemed like it was always going to be a Redbull pole, giving the speed and consistency from Max and the team.
The Honda Power Unit is fast, the car is stable and Max Verstappen is, well Max Verstappen.
Q ONE Fastest time 1:30.499 (Verstappen)
For majority of Q1 it looked as though the usual suspects that would take up the bottom five places. That was partly true as the HAAS drivers of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin qualified in 19th and 20th respectively.
Mazepin, who qualified in last seemed to struggle the most in the windy conditions, spinning his car on a couple of occasions.
It ended up not being a surprise seeing Sebastian Vettel’s name at the bottom end of the grid in 2020, however it was not expected to happen in 2021, the Aston Martin driver was hit by some bad luck as two yellow flags (Mazepin and Sainz) hampered his run.
Esteban Ocon will not have enjoyed his first Qualifying in 2021, coming of the back of a poor 2020 he really needed a good solid session, however finishing in 16th with your teammate, Fernando Alonso managing to reach the top 10 is disappointing.
Out in Q1
Fastest Q Two Time 1:30.009 (Sainz)
Qualifying 2 was a good solid session for most teams, the talented George Russell, who had managed to drag his Williams out of the bottom five was unable to move further up the field. He will start in a decent 15th.
The impressive rookie Yuki Tsuonda, who was second fastest earlier in qualifying, will be disappointed to only manage 13th, however the young Japanese driver should be content with what he has shown so far, it will come good for him.
The biggest surprise in Q2 came in the shape of Redbull, Sergio Perez finished the session in 11th, considering where Max finished, this is extremely disappointing , Redbull decided to send Perez out in the slower Yellow walled medium tire (C3). It was a gamble that didn’t pay off.
Out in Q2
Its Max’s Day
The first top 10 shootout of the season, came down to Max v Hamilton with a sprinkling of Bottas.
A few questions were being asked if Max Verstappens car was damaged after the Dutchman seemed to have damaged his floor on the kerbs earlier in the session, it was not an issue as Max took his 4th pole of his career and first ever consecutive poles (after pole in Abu Dhabi) His pole time was 1:28.997 and 0.388 ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 2nd and 0.589 ahead of Valtteri Bottas in 3rd.
Further Down the Grid
Outside of the top 3, Charles Leclerc took a fantastic 4th for Ferrari with Gasly taking an impressive 5th. (that Alpha Tauri looks quick)
Fernando Alonso stuck his Alpine in 9th place, not a bad result considering the seemingly lack of raw pace in the car.
The biggest head scratcher from the session were the McLaren cars who managed a lowly 6th and 7th, Daniel Ricciardo out qualifying his teammate, the Mclaren car looked solid and quick throughout testing and free practice sessions leading up to qualifying.
McLaren will be wondering what caused the drop off.
All in all we are all set for a decent start to the 2021 season.
Pole: Verstappen 1:28.997
Lights are out at 4pm UK time tomorrow.
Here We Go…