Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020

Hamilton denies Bottas pole position after Ocon spin

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000 qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Tuscan Grand Prix following a close fight with team mate Valtteri Bottas.

The pair traded times separated by hundredths of a second, but the battle was decided in unsatisfying circumstances when Esteban Ocon spun, bringing out the yellow flags and forcing Bottas to abort his final run.


Having swept all three practice sessions, Bottas remained the driver to beat at the start of qualifying. But there was very little in it – his opening effort of 1’15.749 was just 29 thousandths of a second faster than Hamilton managed.

“Losses are minimum speed turns two and three [Luco/Peggio Secco] and entry turn 12 [Correntaio],” advised Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington after their first runs.

Max Verstappen put his Red Bull third, but well over half a second off Bottas, separated from team mate Alexander Albon by the Racing Point pair. Lance Stroll, the only RP20 driver to have the latest aerodynamic specification on his car, initially led his team mate.

Sergio Perez did an extra run which put him ahead of his team mate, though neither were under threat of being eliminated in the first round.

Nicholas Latifi, enjoying a strong weekend in the Williams, held 13th ahead of the final runs, putting him ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Monza winner Pierre Gasly. George Russell, who had been unable to set a time in final practice due to a brake-by-wire failure, was 18th ahead of the Haas pair as the last laps began.

Russell dropped two wheels off the track at Savelli but kept his foot in and managed to improve his time. It wasn’t enough for him to make the cut for Q2, though he did sustain his record of out-qualifying his team mate.

“Not enough, not enough, sorry guys,” he said. “How the hell we finished that I have no idea. I think I damaged the rear.”

“A bit of off-roading probably didn’t help that,” he added, thanking the team for repairing his car between sessions.

Vettel was the last driver to claim a place in Q2, and he took it at the expense of Gasly, who was frustrated at failing to make the cut.

Romain Grosjean was aggravated at being overtaken by both Alfa Romeos immediately before starting his lap. He made it through to Q2, but was not impressed. “There’s no rules, but that’s just not good.”

While Kimi Raikkonen grabbed a place in Q2, Antonio Giovinazzi went no further. Grosjean also left Kevin Magnussen behind.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’17.125
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’17.220
18George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’17.232
19Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’17.320
20Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’17.348

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It remained close between the Mercedes drivers in the second part of qualifying, but this time Hamilton moved ahead, by just 13 thousandths of a second. Verstappen was in the hunt as well, improving to just over a tenth of a second away from the Mercedes, but was frustrated at being held up by Stroll as he left the pits.

Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jnr were left in the drop zone after their first laps, the pair setting identical times of 1’16.854. Sainz complained about the time lost in traffic on his lap, which left him almost two-tenths off his team mate, holding the final spot in the top 10.

With a clearer final run, Sainz improved to 10th, which was enough to edge his team mate out of the top 10. Kvyat failed to improve his time after going off at the same corner Russell had, only more so. Raikkonen matched Kvyat’s time but will start behind him having set it later.

Sebastian Vettel also went no further, though Charles Leclerc ensured at least one of the Ferraris would start inside the top 10 for the team’s 1,000th race.

Grosjean, who had been 10th quickest in final practice, was frustrated at ending Q2 in last, particularly after being called to the weigh bridge again and losing time at the start of his lap. “I don’t know where the competitiveness from practice three has gone,” he said. “But starting the lap four-tenths down is never ideal is it?”

All drivers ran the soft tyre, which offered a lap time improvement of around nine tenths of a second over the medium, putting them on the same compound for the start of the race.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’16.640
12Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’16.854
13Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’16.854
14Sebastian VettelFerrari1’16.858
15Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’17.254

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Hamilton held his advantage as Q3 began, but the gaps remained very slim. Bottas was fractionally quicker through the first sector, but Hamilton regained the advantage over the rest of the lap. Even so, the two black cars were separated by less than six hundredths of a second at the line.

Verstappen couldn’t beat his best time from Q2 with his first run. Asked where the team could improve his balance Verstappen said: “It’s fine, I just didn’t have grip.” Albon was fourth after the first runs, while Perez ran after the first group of drivers and set the fifth-fastest time.

Hamilton didn’t get off to a great start with his final run. He was fractionally slower in the first sector, but improved through the middle of the lap. However the contest for pole position was decided when Esteban Ocon’s car snapped sideways at the exit of Poggio Secco.

The Renault stopped by the side of the lap as Bottas arrived on the scene and had to back off. “Shit,” he exclaimed as Hamilton’s pole position was secured.

Verstappen did improve his lap time, but stayed third, Albon backing him up in fourth. Leclerc claimed a superb fifth for Ferrari, ahead of the Racing Point pair. Perez led Stroll, though his one-place grid penalty will drop him behind his team mate.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’15.144
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’15.203
3Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’15.509
4Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’15.954
5Charles LeclercFerrari1’16.270
6Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’16.311
7Esteban OconRenault
8Daniel RicciardoRenault1’16.543
9Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’17.870
10Esteban OconRenaultNo time

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2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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78 comments on “Hamilton denies Bottas pole position after Ocon spin”

  1. Thank you, Ocon for making the end anticlimatic. Gasly’s pace, though. I didn’t expect him to fail at reaching Q2.

    1. @jerejj Just for you :))

    2. Yea, screw you Ocon. But still, you need to make everything count. I was pretty upset with that. We still have the long run to turn one tomorrow.

      1. Why wait for the very last minutes of qualifying session and be dependent on other drivers not making mistakes?

    3. Soo happy the sacked better driver beat his teammate who had the the upgrades…l remember when Williams sacked Hill the reigning WC..feel sorry for Checo!

  2. How did Hamilton deny Bottas when the latter didn’t get the equal chance?
    Pretty sure article be lot more different if roles were reversed.

    1. You sound like beating Bottas in first Q3 run is less important than getting equal attempts, not that attempts weren’t equal – they are. They take turns each race deciding order of cars on track.

    2. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th September 2020, 15:15

      Because Bottas led all the sessions that didn’t matter for the grid.

      If you think that he didn’t get the equal chance, ask for a change in the qualifying system. This keeps happening and will continue to happen.

    3. How did Hamilton deny Bottas

      By lapping 0.059 seconds faster than him on their first runs.

      1. @keithcollantine
        I don’t think the yellow flags interfered with Hamilton’s second run at all, even though the article makes it sound like they did.

    4. I think Jay’s point is that if the roles were switched, the headline would have read, “Hamilton denied opportunity…”. Or something to that effect. Is he wrong? And so far as circumstances were, itwas the situation that denied Bottas as much as Hamilton, especially since they were so close, especially since Bottas was purple in sec 1.

    5. Well they purposely make VB fastest in all 3 practise session, but during qualifying they let LH take the pole. Basically they give face to VB at 1st so that it doesnt look they favour LH. They can control your car to power up or to power down from pit control.

  3. Bottas really must be wondering what he did in a previous lifetime as whenever he’s faster than Hamilton, somehow Hamilton always ends up in front of him anyway.

    1. how do u be faster than someone but end up behind???

    2. He never faster when it counts. Could have nailed the first run already. Bottas only finishes ahead when it doesn’t matter (for Hamilton).

    3. Could it be, dare I say it, that he’s not very good?

  4. Incredible lap from Max to be three tenths off Hamilton in a car one second slower than the Mercs. He’d be breaking every record in the book if he had a car as quick as the Mercs.

    Bottas really unlucky there. Been well on top of Hamilton all weekend and denied a final run in qualifying because of the yellow flag.

    Mercedes beatable tomorrow given their drivers are harder on their tyres than Max, hot conditions, Max being stronger in races.

    1. one second faster? then albon could be on pole then. but maybe half a second would be likely. max can definitely lap in the 1.14s though

      1. Albon would beat Bottas. At least match him anyway.

        1. LMAO. Is this Horner or Marko speaking?

    2. Lol its good to believe.

    3. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking Max is so great, no driver is worth that much laptime.

      1. Max is the best on the grid. His results are incredible.

        1. You didn’t have to repeat yourself, it was obvious what your views are. Better justify them with some data, that the rest of us are clearly missing.

          1. The Mercedes is a lot more than 0.3 second quicker than the Red Bull. We all know that.

            Max the star of the day.

          2. @David Bondo

            You’re still repeating yourself. Please provide data.

        2. You are not entirely wrong but you are on the Lewis fan website here, which has the view that:
          All good results Lewis gets is result of his to amazing performance and nothing to do with by far the best car of the field.
          All good results Max gets is due to the very fast Red Bull car and the big consistent gap with his teammate is because Albon is horrible.

          1. Stop making stuff up you sound stupid; especially given who you are responding to. Almost everyone on here thinks Max and Ham are the best drivers on the grid. A view held by most of F1. At the moment Max is tying with Alonso for who is the best ‘what if’ driver. A place he seems very comfortable in.

    4. I didnt know Bottas was on top all weekend. Thought when it mattered in Q3 it was Hamilton on top after the first run?
      And did you notice Max went slower in his second run and put it down to the wind? But that must be just another Max excuse, given you are suggesting Bottas would have been faster on his second run.

      1. I don’t @david bondo I think the Red Bull is actually the faster car but is harder to drive so it’s the drivers letting it down.

        1. Hamilton on that Red Bull would achieve 1.14s.
          Verstappen is too slow.

        2. I think I’ve heard it all now. The RBR quicker than the all conquering Mercs with their 7th front row lockout in a row I think it was LOL.

          1. Thats only because of Hamilton and Bottas. Verstappen in a Mercedes would only be P3 at best.

      2. Max second run in Q3 was actually faster than his first run, where as most were slower in their second run.

    5. Do you need some quiet time alone with your poster of Verstappen?

    6. I don’t understand why people play down the Honda engine so they can play Max Verstappen up.

      The Honda engine has been rated at just have 30bhp less than Mercedes. This would account for about a 2 tenths difference in lap time – give or take a few hundredths.

      AMuS covers the issue here – https://scuderiafans.com/amus-analysis-of-mercedes-ferrari-honda-and-renault-engines/

      So, nothing “incredible” in what Max is doing. He is doing exactly what the car us capable of.

      1. It’s the whole package as well. The Merc is the quickest car in the corners.

        8/9 front row lockouts shows the Mercedes complete dominance.

        RBR has been 3rd or 4th best car through parts of this season.

        Mercedes quickest by a significant margin throughout.

        1. I will repeat – it’s easier….

          For goodness sake can you give up the ‘Max is best at everything’ rant in absolutely every thread?

          He is a great racer – we are all impressed. We do not need you to keep bending facts to fit a narrative.

          At the moment he is a five year experienced racer in a car that has at times been better on track than the Merc. He did not get the results one would expect.

          Sometimes matters fell right and he has won a few races. A few races.

          He has a team completely and totally focussed on him. Good, they should. Others are not so fortunate.

          Your constant refusal to accept he is racing probably the best ever does him no favours.

          He has yet to win a championship (actually any season long one) and hopefully we will see that in the future. Next door is a chap who has won many.

          In the meantime the constant my car is slower (I mean really? Alonso or Hamilton won over 40 races in slower cars before the days of it becoming a fact or excuse) monologue along with you on every thread is actually doing nothing other than making his efforts see paltry, good or otherwise.

          At least recognise the fact that others on the grid are doing just as good a job. I mean for once his team got his team mate just behind him.

          Acknowledge others are doing a good job. Then we might accept your ridiculous he is ‘super human’ slant!

        2. @David Bondo –

          RBR has been 3rd or 4th best car through parts of this season.

          So which car has been the second and third fastest? Racing Point? McLaren? Renault? Has it occurred to you that Red Bull UNDER PERFORMED at those races where they were outqualified by other cars apart from Mercedes. They were even beaten by Alpha Tauri last week. So is Alpha Tauri also faster than Red Bull?

          And what shall we say about the 70th Anniversary GP? Which car was fastest in the race? Mercedes?

          No one is claiming the Mercs aren’t dominant, but Red Bull are not that far behind as you and Horner like to claim. As already made clear, the Honda engine is only 30bhp less than the Mercedes one, and the Red Bull chassis with its high downforce package is actually the best on the grid.

          1. It’s good to see all Lewis fans are awake :)

          2. No, the RBR cars didn’t underperform they were actually the 3rd or 4th quickest car.

            RBR only had an edge at Silverstone because Max was able to manage his tyres better than Hamilton and Bottas.

            Any impartial observer would agree that RBR is a long way off the pace of Mercedes.

          3. I think an impartial observer would actually say there is a small gap between Mercedes and Red Bull then a huge gap to the rest.

        3. Any impartial observer would agree that RBR is a long way off the pace of Mercedes.

          Impartial observers say the Red Bull has 30bhp less than Mercedes, and have provided data to that effect. But you claim they are a “long way off the pace”, without any evidence whatsoever.

          Have a guess which opinion most rational people are going to go with?

  5. I was already worried when Bottas was released way behind Hamilton. I hate it when this happens. From a fan side, I wish something could be done to prevent yellow flags from ruining qualifying laps. Still, you need to make every lap count in qualifying. Race is tomorrow though.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th September 2020, 15:16

      Change the qualifying system

    2. If Hamilton was behind it will be he is always getting a tow

    3. The risk with running late is a yellow flag. It’s happened before and will happen again. Fans want tracks that punish mistakes yet also don’t want yellows qualifying? In other words fans don’t understand what they want. I don’t get all this equality or fairness it’s top level sport it is racing. Make sure you are quickest when it matters. Bottas failed when it mattered. Let’s hope he can get away well from the grid tomorrow – for a change. Also don’t change the qualifying format. This is better than a one hour qualifying session free for all because everyone waits until the end. Single flying laps is also boring because drivers don’t push 100% because a single mistake drops them down the grid.

  6. Ocons so good he qualified twice!

    1. Even better to be 7th with no time

    2. He beat his evil twin brother

      1. Don’t be so hard on Bottas, Hamilton holds the record for most poles for a reason. As for Hamilton, he’s creating his legacy.


  8. If Bottas doesn’t wreck his start tomorrow MV will have another lonely race in 3rd. But The midfield is looking good for a great battle.

  9. I don’t understand why everyone is so upset.

    Yes Ocon spoiled the end…..but that is not Hamilton’s fault.

    Bottas had his chance in a head to head on the first run and lost.

    Yet I have already read more than one comment how Bottas was denied pole, as if he was entitled to it because he led previous sessions.

    Wasn’t it the case that both Ham and Verstappen were down in their second run? If so, I do not expect Bottas would have made up the difference.

    Regardless, he needs to beat Ham when it matters, and doing that on the first run is vital.

    1. It’s not everyone @mach1. Anyway according to PdR it was Valtteri’s choice to run second, for the evolution, so it was a risk he chose. If he’d been confident of being faster he’d have run first, then it’d have been the wind perhaps :)

      1. I believe it was Lewis’ choice of when to run this weekend. Someone will correct me if I’m wrong but I’m sure BOT chose to run first at Imola. They alternate the decision on where to run in qualy each race.

    2. Agree not Lewis fault but it was his luck, Lewis might not have been able to improve but Bottas could.
      Max improved his time with 0.2, believe Leclerc improved and moved up to 5th.

      1. The faster he drives the luckier he gets! Go figure 🤔 Lewis pulls it out the bag, when it matters 99% of the time. That’s not luck. His 95 PPs are not luck. His 89 wins are not luck. Credit where credit is due, no?

      2. Forgot to add… think LEC is in for a DNF tomorrow. That PU will be Turned up to 11 to save face for Ferrari. Expect an engine explosion around lap 20. Fair play to LEC though. Not his fault Ferrari are inept.

  10. Once again after Brazil 2018, Ocon helps Hamilton against his chief competitor :)

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th September 2020, 16:12

      And that Monaco race. Maybe he still has a secret contract with Mercedes, I mean, with that Mercedes that designs a wrecked car for Bottas :-P

      1. haha. Indeed. The list is just getting longer.

  11. @keithcollantine you got Ocon in 7th and 10th :)

  12. Midfield driver of the weekend so far? Kimi, without a doubt.

    1. Quicker than Vettel which is incredible.

    2. Kimi is looking super sharp, that 2019.5 Sauber might be a better car than the ferrari.

      1. We can’t even be sure it’s better than the Williams!
        Kimi’s experience and determination drags it into Q2 when the opportunity presents itself.

        As for the Ferrari, Seb is clearly down in the dumps at present, and the team are not giving support from their side. The divorce papers have come through: all Seb’s getting is the big sofa mama bought her and her designer clothes. He’s keeping everything else.

  13. I’m not sure it will prove to be the best track in terms of close racing but just watching modern F1 cars around Mugello is fantastic. Turns 5-9 are just epic to watch a car go through on a hot lap.

    Also wish they would use the nose-cam a bit more as that angle around this track is pretty spectacular. The one on Bottas car has a bit of an old school feel to it as it’s not as stable as the other angles tend to be.

  14. That was something completely different by Kimi. Absolutely mega job. Kimi has been driver of the season by a fairly big margin during the last GP’s.

    1. I was really unhappy for Kimi in Monza that due to no fault of his own and a stellar drive he was overtaken again and again by faster cars ending up outside the points.

  15. When the chips are down…

  16. lh44 pole trophy 2020 ggwp

  17. Seems the qually mode ban is working in that Mercedes are still 1-2 every time, but just not a second in front of everybody, sigh..

    Would Bottas have made pole? I think so as he has been able to improve his second runs nowadays, which he couldn’t before. He also had good speed in practice. His bad luck / Hamilton’s good luck continues unabated.

    1. Hamilton’s luck was indeed amazing last weekend.

  18. Ocon spin robs Bottas a chance of claiming a pole position- may have been an apt heading. ??

    1. @muralibhats Bottas had a chance of claiming pole position. He robbed himself of it by being slower than Hamilton on their first runs.

      1. Well. Its quite natural for eventual pole winner to set a slower first attempt time.. Hamilton had done it many times too.

        Hamilton did well and there is no doubt. It was a pole for Bottas to loose today.

        1. Every driver knows when they start the first attempt of Q3 that it might be their only attempt of the session. Yellow/red flags preventing drivers from improving is not that unusual: it happened earlier this year in Austria. If they fail to get the most out of their car on their first run, they have only themselves to blame.

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