The monotone voice of Max Verstappen bears witness to a certain routine. The Dutchman has just sent off this 22nd and final qualifying session as normal business, a mere formality. And at Red Bull, we do not feel more emotions in the agreed remarks of Sergio Pérez. The Mexican did the job by ensuring a first navy blue for Red Bull.
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On the pit wall, Christian Horner nevertheless instilled enthusiasm. “Well done Max! Very good work !“, exclaimed the director of the Milton Keynes team, following this 20th pole position of the double Dutch world champion, his seventh of the season, the 81st in total for Red Bull.
“Super Max” has never shaken. In a final effort, he finished disgusting his world by turning in 1’23 “824. “How much do we make?” he asks his boss. “1 and 2. Well done! Great job!“, Horner replies to him. “Ok, good job!“, concludes the Batavian.
Pérez well placed against Leclerc
His teammate has never been in the game, and soberly congratulates everyone. He finished at 0″228, and the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at 0″268 and 0″418 respectively. The gaps were not huge but Verstappen drove clinically, without seeming to take any risks.
“Checo” therefore remained in his place, losing a 17th time in 22 sessions against his leader. And the Ferraris suffered from their tire operating problem noted on Friday, and which should worsen on Sunday over the 58 laps in the program. But the Mexican does not see it like that: his second place on the starting grid gives him a precious advantage over Charles Leclerc in the race for second place in the 2022 world championship. He is in perfect equality with the Monegasque (290 points each) and Max Verstappen promised to help him if the situation is right on Sunday.
As for the representative of the Principality, he is less certain, because his teammate Carlos Sainz implied that he was going to play his personal card, despite the clear warning given by Laurent Mekies to his two pilots, after the disunited end of the race of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. “I will also think about fighting for the podium, the victory”, warned the Spaniard. But reason and the collective cause may prevail: Ferrari is also struggling to keep its second place among manufacturers. Mercedes is on the prowl, 19 points behind, and nothing is certain.
A season without pole for Hamilton
Author of the best time in the first sector on the attack of his last run, Lewis Hamilton did not go to the end of the feat. The fault of an insufficient Vmax of the Flèche d’Argent in the long straight, and a slip in the last sector. For the first time since entering Formula 1 in 2007, the Briton concludes a season without pole position. Fifth at 0″684 behind the n°1 RB18, he ended the championship where he had started it with his W13. Without regret or bitterness, the Grays felt they had given everything since George Russell, sixth, only rolled 0″003 slower than him.
The top 6 monopolized by the three top teams for the fifth time this season, the teams in the challengers category therefore took the first available runners-up. And in this register, McLaren made the best operation by completing this Q3 in seventh and 10th place with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, who each beat a rival from Alpine. But if Esteban Ocon capped in 8th place and Fernando Alonso failed in 11th, the chances are low that the orange machines will take fourth place in the World Constructors’ Championship from the Blues, because 19 points separate Woking from Enstone.
Finally, Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) missed out. Handicapped by an overly heavy AT03, he failed in Q1 for 0.077. “All weekend, we had a lot of trouble adjusting the car”, he said. Once again unfortunately. But it was at least for the last time with the Italian team.
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