In a close fight for pole between the Mercedes duo, it was Bottas who came out on top.With just 0.172 seconds separating the pair, Bottas takes his 4th career pole. Well off the pace of the leaders, Vettel was half a second away in third place.
Bottas set the pace in Q1, with a new track record of 1:37.356 – just narrowly faster than his teammate. Kimi Raikkonen also looked quick, just a couple of tenths off the Mercedes pair.
Meanwhile, at the back of the order were Toro Rosso, struggling for pace all weekend and Hartley ended the session last. With a grid penalty anyway this makes little difference. His teammate Gasly was able to improve to go quicker than the Saubers.
In the final seconds of the session, Grosjean was knocked into the drop zone as Stroll improved to just scrape into the next part of qualifying, with his teammate outperforming him in 8th position.
Out in Q1:
Hamilton topped the second part of qualifying, lowering the track record to a 1:36.742s. Vettel got within 3 tenths of this, but Ferrari looked to be worryingly off the pace.
The fight to reach the top ten was extremely close, with Alonso and Massa battling for the final spot in Q3. In the end, it was Massa who just made it through, in his final qualifying session, pushing the McLaren into 11th.
Sainz had a disappointing end to his session, with a problem with the power delivery at the end of his lap meaning he could only manage 12th place, just ahead of Vandoorne. Magnussen ended the session 14th and Stroll was way down in 15th.
Out in Q2:
In the initial runs of the session, it was Bottas once again on top, with an advantage of just under two tenths. Vettel was another 4 tenths behind that, leaving it to the Mercedes pair to fight for the pole position.
On their final laps neither Mercedes driver could make an improvement, with Hamilton making a couple of errors on his attempt. This left Bottas to take his fourth career pole, and second in succession after securing pole in Brazil. Vettel finished the session third and a late improvement for Ricciardo means he will line up fourth alongside him tomorrow.
Raikkonen was fifth, just ahead of Verstappen who seemed off form today, outqualified by his teammate. Hulkenberg put in another strong performance to beat the Force Indias to 7th place. Massa took the final position in the top ten.
Hartley is the only driver with a grid penalty for the race (10-place for new MGU-H), so the provisional grid is as qualified:
Bottas, Hamilton; Vettel, Ricciardo; Raikkonen, Verstappen; Hulkenberg, Perez; Ocon, Massa; Alonso, Sainz; Vandoorne, Magnussen; Stroll, Grosjean; Gasly, Wehrlein; Ericsson, Hartley.