It was the first qualifying of the new season – and it was hard to beat in terms of drama. Charles Leclerc set the best time for Ferrari, leaving Max Versteppen behind by just twelve hundredths. The reigning world champion finished second and prevented Ferrari from taking a one-two lead, as Carlos Sainz will start tomorrow’s race, Sunday at 4:00 p.m., from third place. Record world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fifth place with his Mercedes.
The Mercedes couldn’t keep up with Red Bull and Ferrari. Particularly bitter for Hamilton: His former colleague Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo was faster. Daniel Ricciardo disappointed and retired with his McLaren in the first session.