Hamilton takes a 97th pole, Perez equals his longest streak of Q3 appearances and Vettel fails to qualify in the top ten for an eighth consecutive race. Here are all the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix!
HAMILTON’S 97TH POLE
Lewis Hamilton took pole for the 97th time in his career at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix. He becomes the eleventh different driver to have taken pole in Portugal. It’s the ninth time a British driver has taken pole at the Portuguese Grand Prix, meaning that British drivers now have more than double the number of poles in the country than any other nation.
The Algarve International Circuit is the 29th different circuit at which Hamilton has taken pole position, extending his record for the most circuits at which a driver has taken pole. Hamilton has taken pole position at both new circuits on the 2020 calendar.
Mercedes become the eighth different constructor to take pole in Portugal. This is the first time that a Mercedes-powered car will start from pole at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Mercedes is the seventh different engine manufacturer to have taken pole in the country.
Mercedes have now taken pole at all of the first twelve races of the 2020 season. It’s a feat which they’ve achieved only once previously, in 2015. This is only the fourth time that a team has taken pole at all of the first twelve races of the year. Only Williams and Red Bull – who took pole at all of the first fifteen races in 1993 and 2011 respectively – have a record longer than Mercedes’.
Hamilton took pole with a 1:16.652, a time which was 11.335 seconds faster than the fastest time set when F1 last held a test session at the circuit (a 1:27.987, set by Sebastien Buemi in 2009). Hamilton’s pole time was 0.002 seconds faster than Valtteri Bottas’ session topping time in Free Practice 3.
Pole position was decided by 0.102 seconds. That’s the sixth time that has happened in F1 history, after the 1987 Austrian Grand Prix, the 1998 San Marino Grand Prix, the 2000 French Grand Prix, the 2007 British Grand Prix and the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix. All of the last three times that this has happened, Hamilton has been the polesitter. This was the sixth closest qualifying session in the history of the Portuguese Grand Prix.
THE TOP TEN
Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in all three sectors at the Algarve International Circuit, but failed to hook them up in one lap and hence missed out on pole. Bottas was fastest in all three practice sessions at the Portuguese Grand Prix. It’s only the second time he has achieved that in his career. The other time was at Mugello, the other brand new circuit on the 2020 calendar.
With fourth place, Charles Leclerc equalled his best qualifying result of the year. The Ferrari driver also qualified in fourth place at the British and Eifel Grands Prix. This is the first time he has qualified in the top five at two consecutive races in 2020.
Sergio Perez appeared in Q3 for a seventh consecutive race. That equals his longest streak of Q3 appearances, recorded between the 2017 Russian and British Grands Prix. Qualifying in fifth, this was Perez’s thirteenth top five qualification – his fifth of 2020.
Daniel Ricciardo reached Q3 but failed to set a lap time due to damaging his rear wing at the end of Q2. As a result, he qualified in tenth place, marking the first time he has qualified outside of the top eight since the Spanish Grand Prix.
OUT IN Q2
Esteban Ocon qualified in eleventh place and missed out on Q3 for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix, ending a three-race streak of top ten qualifications.
Daniil Kvyat leads the way for most Q2 exits in 2020, with his thirteenth place marking his tenth Q2 exit of the season. The Hungarian and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix are the only races this year where Kvyat failed to reach Q2. He has qualified in either eleventh, twelfth or thirteenth in every race since the Spanish Grand Prix.
George Russell out-qualified his team-mate for a 33rd consecutive race and reached Q2 for the seventh time in his career.
Sebastian Vettel qualified in fifteenth place for the Portuguese Grand Prix. For the first time in his career, Vettel has failed to reach Q3 at eight consecutive races. It’s also the first time that a Ferrari driver has failed to reach Q3 at eight consecutive races since the knockout system was introduced in 2006.
OUT IN Q1
While Haas recorded their sixth double Q1 elimination of the 2020 season, both Alfa Romeo drivers were out in Q1 for the eighth time this year.
This was the thirteenth consecutive race in which Haas failed to reach Q3 with either of their cars. That equals the longest streak without a Q3 appearance which was recorded in their first thirteen races in the sport in 2016.
Antonio Giovinazzi qualified seventeenth for the third time in the last four races. He equals Nicholas Latifi as the driver to have recorded the most Q1 exits in 2020, each having been out in Q1 on eleven occasions.
Nicholas Latifi qualified last for the fourth time in his career. His twentieth position means that a Williams driver has been eliminated in Q1 at all but one of the last forty races. The exception was the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, where both Latifi and Russell reached Q2.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.