As a result of the Red Bull and Toro Rosso duos getting grid penalties for Sunday’s race, along with Fernando Alonso, it’s fair to say that for the most part today’s qualifying session was somewhat anticlimactic.
While Alonso was eliminated in Q1, along with Brendon Hartley, in Q2 the Bulls and Pierre Gasly opted not to run, as did the Renault pair, who wanted to be free to start tomorrow’s race on the ultrasoft rubber.
As a result, other than Valtteri Bottas edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton, and the likes of Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc starting from well up the grid, the session offered little in the way of entertainment.
“For us it’s OK, this is what we’re used to and we follow whatever,” said Alonso, a constant critic of the path the sport is heading down. “For the fans, it’s maybe a problem. It’s more asking the fans what they think to have a nonsense Q1 and a not very important Q2.
“At least I think they enjoyed the F2 race,” he added. “It’s definitely the most fun part of the day for the spectator.”
“It is weird when you know you are not really going out,” admitted Daniel Ricciardo. “You wake up and know you are going to do about eight laps or something.”