F1: Hamilton pips Bottas to Mugello Pole
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton claims the first ever Pole Position round the Mugello circuit ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen as F1 welcomes fans for the first time this season.
12th September 2020
For the first time, the Ferrari owned Mugello circuit named the Tuscan GP, appeared on the Formula One calendar with most of the drivers on the grid never raced round the 5.245km circuit.
Having never been on the F1 calendar before, the hype for this track has been unbelievable with drivers raving about the circuit and how challenging and fun it is to drive round.
The fast and flowing circuit, broken up by the long start/finish straight, is an old-school F1 track with any mistakes made by the drivers results them being punished by the gravel traps. There is no space for any errors and there is no rest for the drivers at any point on the circuit.
Coming into qualifying, Valterri Bottas had been the man to beat with the Finnish driver topping all three practice sessions and looking on great form to secure pole. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who has a 47 point lead in the championship, had been nipping at Bottas's heels with the gap between the Mercedes drivers down to the hundreds of a second throughout the practice sessions.
On the drivers final laps in the Q3 session, Renault's Esteban Ocon spun and that prevented the drivers behind the Frenchman on the track from improving. This included Bottas who set a very good first sector but had to back-off due to the yellow flags being shown.
Neither Hamilton or Red Bull's Max Verstappen improved on their finals laps.
Verstappen has been the closest challenger to Mercedes duo all season and looked more than comfortable to secure third place. His pace was really good but didn't have enough to challenge for the front-row in Q3. His team-mate, Alexander Albon, lines up in fourth and this will make for an interesting race tomorrow with both Red Bull's up at the front instead of it just being Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc flew the flag for Ferrari in Q3 ahead of their 1000th GP tomorrow with Leclerc being the only Ferrari powered car in the top ten. The Monegasque qualified an excellent fifth ahead of both of the Racing Points.
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Sergio Perez headed his Racing Point team-mate of Lance Stroll despite running an older spec bargeboard. However, Perez will start behind Stroll after been given a one place grid penalty after tangling with Kimi Raikkonen in the second practice session.
Renault's Daniel Ricciardo will line-up in eighth ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr with Ocon in 10th after his spin.
Eliminated in Q2 was Lando Norris who up to today's qualifying session, had a run of 15 consecutive appearances inside the top ten. The Brit qualified in 11th ahead of Alpha Tauri's Daniil Kvyat.
Alfa Romeo's Raikkonen, who celebrated 20 years to the day on Friday since he'd tested an F1 car, qualified in 13th despite setting an identical time to Kvyat. Since Kvyat had set his time first, the Russian stayed in 12th.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel qualified in 14th with Haas's Romain Grosjean in 15th.
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Formula One's newest race winner, Alpha Tauri's Pierre Gasly, was a shock elimination in Q1 with the Frenchman being knocked-out for the first time since Belgium last year despite putting in impressive times throughout the three practice sessions.
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George Russell, who sat out the final practice session due to a brake issue, was able to find the grip and the pace despite dipping a wheel in the gravel to qualify in 18th and ahead of Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi. Russell's streak of out-qualifying his team-mate continued with the streak now up to 30 times.
This weekend is first since the beginning of the Williams team in 1978 to not have a single member of the family present since the selling of the team a couple of weeks ago. Neither Sir Frank Williams, who co-founded the team, or his daughter and former Deputy Team Principal, Claire Williams are here having said their goodbyes at last week's Italian GP.
The second Haas of Kevin Magnussen was the slowest driver of the session and will start in 20th for tomorrow's race.