Hamilton only managed to achieve the eighth fastest time in Q1, although he was on a worn rubber game. And while the seven-time world champion increased the stake in Q2, setting the second fastest time, he still found himself more than three-tenths behind Verstappen’s pace.
And it was pretty much the same story in Q3, Hamilton managed to produce a decent last lap to take provisional pole, but even with a few drops of rain Verstappen was able to go two tenths faster.
“I gave it my all today,” Hamilton said. “I think that from the first tests, we went back a bit. But I was happy with my last lap. I think that was about all I had. We are at least well placed in the first row. My mindset is to win the race and give these guys the best race possible.
Verstappen, meanwhile, said he believed he could have mined even more. “Yeah, it was pretty exciting there,” he said. “In Q3, my first lap was not amazing. But then on my last lap he started spitting in the last sector in particular. But being P1 and P3 on the grid, I think it’s a very good performance.
Asked about the likelihood of wheel-to-wheel action with Hamilton lined up at his side, Verstappen smiled. “I guess that’s what people like. We have to get off to a good start and then work together as a team to achieve the best possible result. ”