• Rhonan Colquhoun

Hamilton beats Red Bull charge to secure Imola Pole

Lewis Hamilton claimed a 99th Pole Position as F1 returned to Imola.


17/04/21


The Reigning Seven Time World Champion claimed an unexpected Pole Position and fought off the challenge from the two Red Bull drivers to start tomorrow's race from Pole Position.


Hamilton had not had the pace of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas throughout the three Practice sessions that took place on Friday and Saturday but managed to go top of the timesheets after his first lap in the final part of Qualifying.

"I definitely didn't expect us to be ahead of two Red Bulls. They have been so quick this weekend. They had 0.6secs on us at some times. But the car was already feeling a lot better from this weekend."
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

The first part of the session was Red Flagged as AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda, who claimed his first points in Bahrain, crashed heavily which has left his team a lot of work to do overnight in preperation for the race.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: As shown in Bahrain, Tsunoda has a lot of fighting spirit and he'll need a lot of that if he's to reach the points from the back-row


It was a lightning fast final from Sergio Perez to pip Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen to second and secure his first ever front-row start. The Mexican seems to be more dialed-in with his Red Bull and will be aiming for a podium finish.


Verstappen made a slight error and ran slightly wide on the opening part of his final flying lap which prevented the Dutchman to take a third-successive Pole Position.


Charles Leclerc gave Ferrari fans something to cheer about at the Scuderia's home race as the Monegasque qualified an excellent fourth and claimed he could have been third if not for a small error on his lap.

BUOYANT: Flying and jumping over Imola's unforgiving kerbs, Leclerc will hope to keep his mid-field rivals at bay during the race


Leclerc's team-mate, Carlos Sainz Jr, narrowly missed out on a spot in the top ten but will have a choice of which tyre to start on which will aid the Spaniard's fight in the race.


As he tries to redeem himself after a disapointing Bahrain GP, Pierre Gasly placed his AlphaTauri on the third row of the grid with the Frenchman qualifying in fifth.


The McLaren pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris will line-up in sixth and seventh but on his final lap, Norris was lighting up the timming screens. A lap which would have put the Brit in third place was disallowed for excessive use of tracks limits.


Bottas lines up in eighth after an extremely disappointing final part of qualifying for the Finn as he hopes to try and keep in touch with Hamilton and Verstappen in the championship.

Bottas, along with Hamilton and Verstappen, will be starting on the Medium tyre which is the preferred strategy and will allow them to run longer in the race. The rest of the top ten will start on the Soft tyre and will likely pit earlier than those running on harder compounds of tyre.


With Perez qualifying an excellent second and with Bottas having such a poor session, Red Bull will be fancying their chances at getting both drivers on the podium tomorrow and having a very good chance at challenging for victory.


The start however will be crucial. With limited overtaking opportunities, Verstappen will hope to get past Perez early on so the Dutchman can keep in touch with Hamilton.

UNEXPECTED SURPRISE: Both Hamilton and Perez couldn't believe they qualified in the positions that they did





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