Verstappen wins championship thanks to late safety car

Max Verstappen is the new 2021 Formula 1 world champion by winning the race in an epic and yet controversial last lap with Lewis Hamilton following a late safety car.

The two title rivals came together on the opening lap, but it was the decision to allow a final lap shootout that gave Verstappen the chance to put a decisive pass on Hamilton, who had led most of the race but was unable to stop during a virtual safety car and the full safety car that followed Nicholas Latifi crashing during the closing laps.

At the start, Hamilton made a much better start to immediately shoot alongside Verstappen from second on the grid, with the Mercedes driver seizing the lead at the Turn 1 braking point despite a small lock-up on his left-front.

Hamilton scampered clear but Verstappen stayed close enough to close in slightly going down the long run to the Turns 6/7 chicane than splits Yas Marina’s two main straights.

The Red Bull driver sent a late lunge to Hamilton’s inside and got alongside by the apex, but went so deep to the outside of the track he ran half his car on the kerbs, with Hamilton going fully off and cutting behind Turn 7, rejoining to keep the lead.

To Red Bull’s fury, race director Michael Masi informed the team the stewards had reviewed the incident but decided no investigation was necessary.

This was because in their view Verstappen had forced the issue with Hamilton left no room to stay on track and that the leader had slowed down enough to lead by 1.1 seconds at the end of lap one of 58 to have given up any advantage he gained by cutting the corner.

With Red Bull informing the frustrated Verstappen that he would have to win the race and championship on track, Hamilton quickly edged clear and set a string of fastest laps through the opening 10 tours, running the more durable medium tyres to Verstappen’s softs.

His lead had reached 3.4 seconds by the end of lap ten, at which point Verstappen was already suggesting his rear tyres were starting to slide.

Three laps later, with Hamilton’s lead over five seconds for the first time, Red Bull called Verstappen in to go from the softs to the hards, rejoining in between the Ferrari cars of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who went off through the plunging downhill right of Turn 3 in Verstappen’s wake.

Mercedes brought Hamilton in a lap later for his own set of hards, which meant Sergio Perez, who had been nearly 10s off the lead by the time Hamilton came in, cycling through to lead.

Hamilton carved into Perez’s advantage as Verstappen took several laps to pass Sainz, even going off at the penultimate corner as he chased the Ferrari hard, finally moving up to third with a DRS pass into Turn 6 on lap 18.

Over the next two laps it became clear Red Bull’s plan was for Perez to hold Hamilton up considerably to try and get Verstappen’s near eight-second deficit down.

On laps 20 and 21, the leading pair engaged in a thrilling fight, with Perez nipping back in front of Hamilton at Turn 6 after being passed with DRS on the outside, then when the Mercedes got ahead out of Turn 7 he used his own DRS activation to shoot back alongside and by through the Turn 8 kink and lead again into the new hairpin of Turn 9 at the end of the second straight.

Hamilton attacked at Turn 1 and was rebuffed by Perez, but then had another go with DRS into Turn 6, where he finally sealed his move back to first by cutting from the outside to inside to leave Perez nowhere to go.

Perez pitted at the end of lap 21 to take his own hards, his efforts to hold up Hamilton getting his teammate back to 1.7 seconds adrift.

But Hamilton was able to pull away again from his rival, his lead back to 4.2 seconds by the end of lap 30 – although he informed his team “it’s a long way to go [to the finish] on this set of tyres”.

That concern became of great importance six laps later when Verstappen was called for a second time to take a second set of hards, under a virtual safety car that had been activated when Antonio Giovinazzi’s last race for Alfa Romeo ended with a transmission problem and he pulled up at Turn 9’s exit.

Mercedes opted to retain track position and not take a cheaper pitstop, which set up a 20-lap chase to the finish with Verstappen on much fresher tyres and needing to close a 17s gap.

The Red Bull driver did immediately cut chunks from his rival’s advantage, but only in near half second chunks, which meant it still held at 13.9 seconds with 15 laps to go.

Verstappen continued to home in on Hamilton, with both having to get through a gaggle of backmarkers as the final ten laps approached.

But he still had to close an 11 seconds gap entering the final phase, with tensions raised by Lando Norris, who had dropped down from third at the start, falling out of fifth with a slow puncture – likely picked up on the new kerbs exiting Turns 5 and 9, which Hamilton was advised by Mercedes to avoid.

However, the race was altered dramatically when Latifi crashed exiting the Turn 14 left that leads out from underneath the hotel that straddles the final sector with six laps left – after the Williams had been battling Mick Schumacher through Turn 9 and gone after over the kerbs and then lost the rear of his car and slammed into the wall as he chased the Haas.

Red Bull brought Verstappen in for a third time to go to the softs, with Mercedes unable to bring Hamilton in as it would have meant sacrificing the lead.

The incident took almost the entire rest of the race to clear, which initially looked like it would benefit Hamilton as the lapped cars that had filtered between the leaders – Norris, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel – were not allowed to overtake the safety ahead of the restart.

But Masi reversed this call ahead of the final lap, with Hamilton backing up Verstappen considerably and then flooring it to try and bridge a gap.

He led on the last tour but Verstappen used his fresher rubber to stay close and then dive into a pass at the new Turn 5 left hairpin at the start of the middle sector and then weaving in defence on the straight down to Turn 6, where it had all kicked off over 90 minutes earlier.

Hamilton chased Verstappen on the run to Turn 9 but the Red Bull defend the inside and Hamilton had nowhere to go, sliding wide through the hairpin and coming home 2.2s as Verstappen took his first F1 world title.

Sainz ended up third as Perez was retired in the pits during the late safety car, with AlphaTauri pair Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly taking fourth and fifth ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who to work his way back up from a poor first lap – gaining when Norris suffered his puncture.

Norris took seventh ahead of Alonso and Ocon, with Leclerc rounding out the top ten, the second Ferrari losing ground after stopping during the VSC.

So a controversial end to this thrilling season. Mercedes and Hamilton felt robbed in losing the championship due to the safety car. Red Bull took advantage and Verstappen made the move on the final lap to seal the title. What a dramatic finale in a crazy championship. Congrats to Max Verstappen in becoming the 2021 champ.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:30:17.345
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +2.256
3 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari +5.173
4 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda +5.692
5 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +6.531s
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +7.463s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes +59.200s
8 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault +61.708s
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault +64.026s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +66.057s
11 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes +67.527s
12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes +1 lap
14 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari +1 lap
15 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda DNF
– Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari DNF
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari DNF
– Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari DNS

Verstappen grabs pole position in season finale

Max Verstappen has taken a significant pole position in terms of the championship at stake. The Red Bull driver will start first in the season finale at Abu Dhabi beating Lewis Hamilton. A key point was Max’s pole was getting a tow from teammate Sergio Perez which led to being in P1.

The two title contenders will start Sunday’s race on different tyre strategies after Verstappen used the softs to go through Q2, where Hamilton progressed on the mediums, and they will start ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris with their respective teammates down in fourth and sixth.

On the first Q3 runs, Red Bull sent Perez out ahead of Verstappen and ordered him to push to create a gap while Verstappen carefully prepared his tyres, with Perez then moving out of his teammate’s way on the approach to the new Turn 9 long left hairpin at the end of the track’s second straight.

The tactic worked brilliantly for Verstappen, who set a one minute, 22.109 seconds that put him 0.551 seconds clear of Hamilton after the Mercedes driver completed his opening run, which featured a lock-up at the new Turn 5 hairpin at the start of the second sector.

Mercedes opted to head the pack for the final runs, where Hamilton improved, but shipped more time to Verstappen’s existing as his lap unfolded, to wind up 0.371 seconds adrift.

Red Bull didn’t repeat the tow tactic on the second Q3 runs, with Perez staying ahead of Verstappen all the way around as he set a personal best that still left him behind Norris’s one minute, 22.291 seconds.

Verstappen ended up slower than his first time on his second run, but it did not matter.

Carlos Sainz took fifth for Ferrari, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who ran behind Hamilton on both runs for Mercedes in Q3, as the Black Arrows squad did not try a tow strategy.

Charles Leclerc took seventh ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who lost a quicker lap on his first run in Q3 for running too wide out of the final corner, where the FIA is hotly policing track limits.

Esteban Ocon finished ninth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, with both drivers facing post-qualifying investigations for possible impeding incidents involving Sebastian Vettel, with Ocon’s occurring in Q1.

Q2 ended with chaotic scenes ahead of the final runs, where Verstappen switched to the softs after locking up on the set of mediums he had been running in the early part of the middle segment and flat-spotting the left front, using the red-walled rubber go quickest at that stage.

The pack were sent out en masse and things got so crowded at the final turns that Vettel stopped on the track just past the Turn 14 left where Kimi Raikkonen crashed in FP2.

He got going again but was eliminated in P15, with Fernando Alonso the highest profile faller – the Alpine driver also annoyed by traffic late in his final lap as he came across Ricciardo going through the final corner in an incident that will be investigated after the session.

Ricciardo’s last-gasp improvement then knocked out Alonso, who finished ahead of Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Gasly, who also faces a post-session investigation alongside Vettel for an incident that involved them getting in each other’s way on the pit straight during the middle part of Q2, felt his brakes were too cold on his final run.

Q1, which Hamilton topped, was interrupted by a short red flag after Mick Schumacher knocked a bollard from inside the apex of the final corner, with Norris then sending it up into the air after it was sucked under his front wing when he subsequently came by.

But once it was retrieved the action got going again, with Stroll’s last lap knocking out Nicholas Latifi in P16.

Latifi ended up ahead of George Russell, who’s excellent qualifying record for Williams ended on a down note as he was eliminated in P17, ruing his tyres being “absolutely nowhere” and criticising his team’s run plan late in the opening segment.

Raikkonen’s final Formula 1 qualifying session ended with him P18 in the Alfa Romeo, the Iceman pitting with a few seconds remaining ahead of the chequered flag falling.

The two Haas cars brought up the rear of the field once again, with Schumacher, who had two trips through the Turn 1 runoff during Q1, ending ahead of Nikita Mazepin.

So a thrilling qualifying session with Max Verstappen scoring ten pole this season. This P1 is an important step in terms of the championship and it’s going to be fascinating in terms of strategy in the race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. Bring it on!

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, qualifying results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:22.109
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.480
3 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.931
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:22.947
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:22.992
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:23.036
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:23.122
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:23.220
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:23.389
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.409
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:23.460
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:24.043
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:24.066
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:24.251
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:24.305
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:24.338
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:24.423
18 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:24.779
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:24.906
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:25.685

Hamilton wins chaotic race

What an insane race at Jeddah with so much drama and controversy in Formula 1’s first Saudi Arabian race, which was twice red-flagged plus the two title rivals clashed twice in ugly and near farcical scenes.

The race had three different pole-sitters for three standing starts, two of which followed heavy accidents that left the long, fast Jeddah track strewn with debris.

There were four virtual safety car periods across an event where Hamilton and Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel three times at the first corner – with Verstappen twice being ordered to hand a position back his title rival after completing moves off track.

When he slowed to allow Hamilton by for the latest controversy at that turn, they crashed into each other as Verstappen tried to let Hamilton by on the approach to the final corner in an incident that is being investigated now the crazy contest has ended.

At the first start, Hamilton and Bottas leapt off the line in unison, with Bottas holding his line on the inside run to the first corner to guard against a Verstappen dive, with the Dutchman slotting in behind them in the same third position as he started.

The biggest danger for Verstappen came from teammate Sergio Perez getting very close to his left-rear as the Red Bull driver locked up trying to dive by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari on the outside line.

The move got Perez fractionally ahead of Leclerc but it cost him momentum going around the long right-hander of Turn 2 and the Ferrari was able to pull back ahead and set off after the leaders.

The top three were able to lap in the low one minute, 34 seconds in the early laps, with Leclerc and those behind in the one minute, 35 seconds and slower, which meant there was quickly a gap behind Verstappen.

As Bottas was able to hold the Red Bull at just over a second as the leaders increased their pace into the one minute, 33 seconds as the first ten laps of 50 came to an end, Hamilton was instructed to create a gap to his teammate to avoid the Finn running in too much dirty air and damaging his tyres.

Hamilton’s lead over Bottas had just reached 2.0 seconds – and 3.4 seconds over Verstappen – when the race was interrupted by a safety car period activated after Mick Schumacher lost the rear of his Haas running through the fast left-hand kink of Turn 22 (where Leclerc crashed in FP3 in a very similar incident) on lap 10.

Mercedes called Hamilton in to switch from the mediums to the hards, with Bottas doing likewise, but only after he’d dropped to seven seconds behind the leader, which enraged Verstappen and Red Bull.

Verstappen then did not follow the Mercedes cars into the pits and therefore headed the queue in front of Hamilton, Bottas and fellow non-stoppers Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo, who was the lead runner to have started on the hards.

But after four laps behind the safety car the race was red flagged, which gave Red Bull the chance to change Verstappen’s tyres to the hards and not lose position, which enraged Hamilton, who repeatedly question the need to stop the race before he climbed out his car in the pitlane.

After a near 20-minute stoppage, the race resumed with a second grid start – after Hamilton had complained about Verstappen appearing to do a practice start as he left the pitlane and Verstappen was livid with Hamilton dropping so far behind on the approach to the grid.

At the second start, Hamilton rocketed alongside and past Verstappen immediately, but the Red Bull shot back to the Mercedes’ outside as they braked and turned in for Turn 1, then cut Turn 2 to get back ahead of Hamilton as they both moved wide.

With Hamilton cost momentum moving back left as Verstappen rejoined ahead, Ocon nipped by to run second as he had passed Bottas when the Finn locked up at the first corner.

In the pack behind, Leclerc spun Perez into the wall as they ran side-by-side on the exit of Turn 2, with the Red Bull having been just ahead as they race around the ensuing Turn 3 right, and that set off a chain reaction that led to Nikita Mazepin rear-ending George Russell – unsighted as the Williams and others braked ahead.

Perez, Mazepin and Russell were out immediately, with the race red flagged again for 20 minutes as the wreckage was cleared.

During the stoppage, Red Bull and Mercedes had a series of radio calls with race director Michael Masi, who suggested Verstappen accept being moved behind Ocon and Hamilton for the third standing start or he would refer the Turn 1 incident the stewards.

Red Bull accepted the decision and so the grid formed up again, with the top three split on tyre strategy – Ocon and Hamilton still on the hards and Verstappen back to the mediums, as was Ricciardo and Bottas behind him.

When the lights went out for a third time, latest polesitter Ocon found Hamilton immediately alongside him as the raced away from the front row, but Verstappen swerved from the outside line to cut off Ricciardo and then dive down the inside of both leaders at Turn 1.

Hamilton touched Ocon after a brief jink right as Verstappen shot down his inside, with the Alpine cutting Turn 2 after going deep at Turn 1 following the light touch with the Mercedes and Ocon rejoined in front of Verstappen before swiftly handing first place to the Red Bull.

Verstappen opened up a 1.3 seconds lead by the end of lap 17, the third restart lap, with Hamilton then breezing by Ocon on the approach to Turn 1 at the start of the following tour.

That set up the latest duel between the two title rivals at the head of the pack, as they quickly pulled clear of Ocon, who was five seconds adrift by the start of lap 20, swapping fastest laps as the only drivers able to lack in the 1m32s bracket.

On lap 23 the race was interrupted again – this time because of a virtual safety car activated after Yuki Tsunoda and Sebastian Vettel getting together at Turn 2 and the AlphaTauri’s front wing needing to be recovered from the run off.

The suspension was short and at the very end of the following lap the race went green again and Hamilton’s chase of Verstappen resumed – their pace immediately reaching the 1m31s.

But second and third VSC activations were needed so more debris could be cleared in the tours approach the lap 30 mark – following Vettel having a clash with Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 4 after his clash with Tsunoda, for which the AlphaTauri driver was given a five-second time addition penalty, had dropped him down the order.

The third VSC was much longer than the second and lasted from lap 29 to a few corners into lap 33, at the end of which Verstappen had a 1.2s lead, but the full speed conditions lasted just three further tours as another piece of debris needed to be recovered under a fourth VSC from the entry to Turn 14.

But that interruption lasted just a few seconds, with then Hamilton getting a close run behind Verstappen at the start of lap 37 – passing the Red Bull with DRS on the outside run to Turn 1.

But Verstappen again stayed on the inside and both went deep, much like at Turn 4 at Interlagos, with the Red Bull then sliding wide and cutting Turn 2 and staying ahead as both went off the track.

Red Bull instructed Verstappen to let Hamilton by later on lap 37 and he slowed on the approach to the final corner – where the Mercedes went into the back of the Red Bull in confusing scenes for both, which ripped off the right-side of his front wing.

After a few laps with Verstappen still ahead, during which Mercedes and Masi argued over what had happened on the run to Turn 27, the Red Bull driver again slowed to let Hamilton by at the same corner – but this time, once the Mercedes was through, Verstappen nipped back ahead to retake the lead as they rounded the left-hand hairpin.

In the aftermath of that incident as lap 43 began, Verstappen was handed a five-second time addition penalty and he then appeared to slow again to let by Hamilton at the final corner.

This time, Verstappen attacked back on the outside, with Hamilton getting a warning for edging him into the runoff as the Briton stayed ahead.

Hamilton moved clear from there as Verstappen’s mediums began to give up and he backed off to make the finish, 11.8s adrift, with Hamilton having enough pace despite his damage to secure the fastest lap.

Ocon lost third to Bottas on the line as the second Mercedes used DRS to overcome the Alpine – having battled by Ricciardo a few laps earlier and started a late charge to rescue a podium.

Pierre Gasly finished sixth ahead of Ferrari pair Leclerc and Sainz – the former having lost ground after the third restart – with Antonio Giovinazzi and Lando Norris rounding out the top ten.

So a chaotic race full of incidents. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in taking victory and the championship now goes down to the wire in the season finale.

Race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2:06:15.118
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda +11.825s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +27.531s
4 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault +27.633s
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes +40.121s
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +41.613s
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +44.475s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari +46.606s
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +58.505s
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes +61.358s
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes +77.212s
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes +83.249s
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault +1 lap
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda +1 lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari +1 lap
– Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes DNF
– Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda DNF
– Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari DNF
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari DNF

Hamilton on pole as Verstappen crashes

This was a dramatic qualifying session between the championship contenders as Lewis Hamilton scored a vital pole position while Max Verstappen was on an epic, flying lap but made a mistake and crashed in the final corner.

Valtteri Bottas was second and this result gives Mercedes a front row lock-out ahead of their rival.

Red Bull sent Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez out several minutes later into Q3 and the former slotted in ahead of the Mercedes drivers with a one minute, 27.653 seconds on his first flying attempt in the final segment, after which he decried he needed “a tow” despite being 0.382 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who’s second attempt had looked ragged.

After a trip to the pits to alter his front wing settings, Hamilton put in a third and final flier that put him back to first place on a one minute, 27.511 seconds, albeit without the fastest time in the first sector.

Bottas followed his teammate in completing a third run, having taken his second attempt later than Hamilton’s, with Verstappen therefore the last of the three to complete a final lap – his second flier of Q3.

Verstappen appeared to be right on the limit all the way around the lap, nearly clipping the wall as he exited Turn 2 and rocketing to purple sectors in the opening tour thirds of the lap.

That put him 0.244 seconds in front of Hamilton’s time at that stage, but as he braked for the left-hand hairpin at the final corner his braking went wrong.

He locked up and when he picked up the throttle early in an attempt to recover the time he slid way and crashed into the wall on the outside, stopping near the inside wall on the approach to the pitlane.

This ended his qualifying challenge and it was a disappointment as without this mistake, this would have been the lap of the season as Verstappen was pushing way over the limit. Despite this, the championship leader is still third on the grid.

Charles Leclerc took fourth after his heavy crash in FP2, finishing ahead of Perez and Pierre Gasly.

Lando Norris finished seventh with Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi rounding out the top ten.

All the top ten runners bar Norris will start Sunday’s race on the medium compound after getting through the middle segment on that rubber.

Hamilton topped Q2, where Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen were the highest place fallers – the latter also clipping Bottas as he went around the Mercedes driver out of the final corner as they returned to the pits in an incident the stewards decided did not need investigating.

Fernando Alonso’s late personal best lap could not save the Alpine driver from elimination in P14 ahead of George Russell and Carlos Sainz.

Sainz had a wild opening two segments to qualifying, appearing to get impeded by Gasly at Turn 3 in Q1 – an incident that is being investigated now the session has ended – and then half-spinning at the exit of the fast Turn 10 90-degree right late in the first sector mid-way through Q2.

Sainz said he “saved” the incident, but his right-side rear wing endplate brushed the wall as he shot sideways and was sitting at an odd angle for the rest of the session, where the Ferrari driver had a hard time controlling his Ferrari and ended up P15.

In Q1, which was topped by Perez, Nicholas Latifi and Sebastian Vettel set personal bests right at the end but were eliminated in P16 and P17, with Lance Stroll abandoning his final flier as he was not set to improve.

Stroll therefore took P18 ahead of Mick Schumacher, who did complete a personal best right at the end of the segment but could climb no higher than P19, with Nikita Mazepin finishing last.

So a thrilling qualifying session and the speed around this Jeddah street circuit was insane. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in scoring an important pole position as the championship is reaching its climax. As for Max Verstappen, his final Q3 lap was looking special but pushed too hard and P3 is the end result. Can he fight back in the race? Bring on Sunday.

Qualifying results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.511
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:27.622
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:27.653
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:28.054
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:28.123
6 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:28.125
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.180
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:28.442
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:28.647
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.754
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.668
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.885
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:28.920
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:29.054
15 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:53.652
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:29.177
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:29.198
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:29.368
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:29.464
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:30.473