Mercedes Pit

The Friday Sprint qualifying session was filled with excitement and penalties. The race stewards had to pinpoint a couple of mistakes by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. While Hamilton dodged the penalty, Bottas wasn’t as lucky. Although Hamilton wasn’t penalized, his performance was underwhelming. The seven-time world champion failed to qualify for SQ3. 

Moreover, Red Bull’s racing sensation, Max Verstappen, yet again made the headlines with his stellar performance, passing Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to secure pole position. Whereas Daniel Ricciardo, who was penalized during the Chinese GP, finished in the fourth spot ahead of Sainz, Alonso, and Piastri. With the Saturday sprint just a few hours away, seeing who can prevent the Red Bull Storm from claiming the top spot will be interesting.  


Valtteri Bottas Receives 3 Grid Penalty While Mercedes Continues Their Harrowing Run 

The Mercedes team struggles significantly as another on-track failure hits the German outfit. By the end of Q2, Mercedes drivers were out of the top ten list. Thus, Russell and Hamilton will start from the 11th and 12th spots at this weekend’s 100-km sprint event. Nico Hulkenberg of Haas beat Russell by 0.013 seconds, while Hamilton failed to clip the threshold by 0.041 seconds. Thus, the Silver Arrows are left picking up pieces as the performance issue persists.

Moreover, the outcome was far from their expectations after the introduction of an ‘optimistic’ upgrade plan. In the end, Russell was perplexed by the W15’s on-track performance as they failed to hit the ‘sweet spot.’ He added that the team needs to fight the qualifying woes as it pushes them on the back foot. 

However, things could have been worse, as Mercedes missed a close penalty call. Stewards summoned the team after a ‘pitlane’ incident. It was during the SQ2 when Hamilton approached the pit while team members were not wearing helmets. The blunder was a breach of safety rules laid in Article 34.13. After listening to Mercedes and watching the video footage, stewards decided not to ‘penalize’ the team. On the contrary, Valtteri’s explanation was insufficient, as he got a three-place grid penalty. He was penalized for an incident where Bottas impeded Oscar Piastri during a fast lap. 

Verstappen On Song, Takes Sprint Pole 

Formula 1 ‘X’

At present, the Red Bull-Verstappen duo looks unstoppable. The Dutchman capitalized on the soft tires to win the pole. He will start the Saturday sprint from the first place, giving him an upper hand. Despite an impeccable run, Verstappen was far from happy, as he was ahead of Charles Leclerc by 0.108s. He expressed slight disappointment as the last session was ‘terrible’ due to the soft tires. 

The reigning world champion would like to extend his domination by outplaying others during the Sprint event. However, other teams, especially Ferrari, would have to roll their sleeves to march past the RBR team.