On a bright Saturday afternoon, Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for Sunday's Imola Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion had an answer to everything the other teams threw at him. Hamilton completed his fastest lap around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in 1:14:411, which was enough for him to start Sunday's Imola Grand Prix in P1.
Hamilton beat both Red Bull cars to secure pole position, finishing a mere 0.035 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez. The Mexican shocked the grid by qualifying ahead of his teammate Max Verstappen, who in turn was a mere 0.087 seconds behind Hamilton.
How did Hamilton secure pole for the Imola Grand Prix?
Lewis Hamilton came into the Imola Grand Prix having narrowly won the Bahrain Grand Prix from Max Verstappen. Red Bull had the fastest car at the season-opener and many considered them favorites to dominate in Imola as well. The idea was reinforced when Verstappen topped FP3 by over half a second.
Lewis Hamilton wasn't at the top of his game in qualifying. The 36-year-old qualified P2 in Q1 and was only P4 in Q2. It looked certain that a Red Bull would secure pole for the second race in a row in 2021.
However, Hamilton always finds an extra gear in moments where it matters most and the Q3 session was no different.
Lewis Hamilton set a 1:14:411, putting Mercedes on provisional pole. Sergio Perez was next to cross the line, but the Mexican missed out on pole by just 0.035 seconds, setting a lap time of 1:14:446. Max Verstappen was the last driver to cross the line, but he set a 1:14:498, missing out on the front row. This was Hamilton's 99th career pole position.
The Imola Grand Prix is notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities. This means Lewis Hamilton is in prime position to secure his second straight win of the season.
However, Red Bull have a strategic advantage. The team has two cars near Hamilton, who will miss his wingman teammate; Valtteri Bottas qualified in P8.
This is the exact opposite of the situation in Bahrain, where Verstappen led both Mercedes cars. Red Bull will hope to replicate the success the Silver Arrows had at the season-opener, where they were 2v1 against Verstappen.
When is the Imola Grand Prix Race?
The Imola Grand Prix race will take place on 18th April 2021, at 3:00 PM local (CET) time. The race usually lasts for two hours, barring any yellow or red flags.
For fans in the UK, the race begins at 2 PM GMT.
For viewers in the United States, the race will begin at 9 AM Eastern Time.
For fans in India, the Imola Grand Prix starts at 6:30 PM IST.