Qatar qualifying facts & stats: Hamilton takes pole by the largest margin of the season in dry running
Qualifying under the lights in Qatar proved to be a breath taking spectacle, with Lewis Hamilton grabbing pole for Mercedes by quite the margin. Max Verstappen managed to steal second from the rapid twin Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas which sets up the mouth watering prospect of those three slugging it out down to the first corner in Sunday’s Grand Prix. But it wasn’t plain sailing for everyone, with a puncture almost derailing Pierre Gasly’s session while Sergio Perez suffered a disappointing Q2 exit. Here are the facts and stats from the first qualifying session at the Losail International Circuit...
• This was Lewis Hamilton’s third pole in the last 16 races.
• The margin to Max Verstappen in P2 was 0.455s, the largest in a dry Q3 this season.
• While Hamilton and Verstappen have shared the front row on several occasions, Hamilton starting P1 ahead of his rival in P2 has only occurred once this season, back in Spain.
• Since 2010, the polesitter at new circuits has always gone on to win the world championship.
• Pierre Gasly’s P4 will be the fourth time he has started from that slot this season, including at Baku where he went on to finish on the podium.
• Fernando Alonso’s fifth place is his second top-five start in the last five races, having inherited P5 in Turkey thanks to Gasly’s grid penalty.
• Lando Norris will be sixth on the grid for McLaren in their 900th championship start.
• Carlos Sainz was P7, the third consecutive race weekend he has out-qualified his team mate.
• Yuki Tsunoda was eighth, with both AlphaTauri cars reaching Q3 for the fourth time in the last five races.
• Esteban Ocon made his first Q3 appearance since Sochi, five races ago.
• Sebastian Vettel made his first Q3 appearance since Spa, which was a full eight races ago.
• Sergio Perez is knocked out in Q2, as he was in Bahrain on his Red Bull debut which was also a night session.
• Charles Leclerc fails to make Q3 for the fourth time this season.
• Daniel Ricciardo failed to reach Q3 in six of his first 11 races with McLaren, but has only missed out on the top 10 once in the last eight races prior to Qatar.
• George Russell progressed to Q2 and out-qualified Nicholas Latifi, having failed to beat his team mate in either qualifying or the Sprint in Brazil.
• Alfa Romeo lost both cars in Q1 for just the fifth time this season.