Hamilton spent a lot of time getting comfortable with the new track, which was located in the Tuscan hills, rather than chasing a lump-sum time. It was Bottas who led the way after Q1, but it was a few hundredths that set them apart, and Hamilton then landed it on the ramp in Q2 to lead the season for the first time over the weekend.
In the first run in Q3, Hamilton once again set the pace, with Bates within 0.06, but did not lose all hope as there was still one run to be scored. However, Esteban Ocon of Renault did all of this wrong on his bag, bringing spinning and yellow flags, forcing the lot of the area to retreat.
This earned Hamilton his 95th career pole position and 69th for Mercedes, which is more than the total career total of any other driver. With Bottas coming in at number two, it gave Mercedes a seventh consecutive row lockout – two short of their record set in 2014–15.
Red bull racing
Red bull racing
The Racing Point pair were in the next round, with Sergio Perez defeating Lance Stroke, despite his teammates offering a heavily updated package that includes a new sidepod arrangement and new brake nozzles. However, the Mexican would leave behind a stroke on the grid, following a one-place penalty for a confrontation with Kimi Raikkonen in practice.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo went eighth ahead of McClain’s Carlos Sainz – who did not set an interval time in the Q3 etiquette of his spin – out of the top 10.
Elsewhere, Italian Grand Prix race winner Pierre Gasly suffered a shock Q1 exit, struggling Frenchman underunder, while Sebastian Vettel could give Ferrari’s home crowd something to smile about with two cars in the top 10 Because he was booted out in Q2.
Scrap through Q1 Vettel but Monza winner Gasly out
Bottas continued where he left off in practice, topping the timesheets for the fourth consecutive season at Mugello, with Finn overtaking Mercedes teammate Hamilton by just 0.027.
Verstappen slipped to third, but he was six tenths ahead, with teammate Albon needing a second run to move to fourth, 0.2s slower.
Race winner Galley struggled with the Understander in his first run, causing him to drop into the drop zone, and when he swerved around for the second time, the car still looked blurred and was hit by Vettel at the time of death. .
Russell briefly looked like he might cause a surprise, but lost a bunch of time to get wide and bounced across the gravel. He still managed to go faster on that lap than Team Met Latifi, Mana.
Giovinazzi is nothing but consistent, with the Italian remaining the only driver to exit Q1 in every race this season, with Kevin Magusen the slowest for the second time in three races.
Knock out: Gasali, Giovinazzi, Russell, Latifi. Magnussen
2020 Tuscan GP qualifying: Russell beats Latifi despite leaving
Q2 – Vittel dumps Bottas for the first time as Hamilton
This weekend, Hamilton snatched the upper hand over Team Met Batesa for the first time, with Verstappen running to within 0.2 – although he did receive several tenth manners of a tow from Sainz from the final corner.
Sainz was in the drop zone after the first run, but landed himself in the top 10 at the expense of teammate Lando Norris, a tenth of the pair’s separation.
Danil Kiwat finished 12th, beating Gaini for only the second time this year, while Kimi Raikkonen’s 13th, Alfa Romeo, is the season’s best qualifying result.
Vettel was not able to defend himself twice in a row, struggling for a German performance as he was knocked out of Q2 in the 14th, meaning they now ran five without taking out Leclerc.
Q3 – Mercedes steak ahead as Ocon spins
Both Hamilton and Baithas managed to go even quicker in Q3, chasing Verstepen’s Red Bull, who could only get within 0.4 after the first run.
A second time, Aucon lost control of its Renault in Turn 5, which meant that the drivers’ haggling – including Mercedes – had to be ruled out of their final runs.
Hamilton’s opening lap was a good one for Poole, his seventh in nine races this season. World champions Hamilton are in great shape to win their sixth race in the nine, with the fast and narrow Mugello expected to be tough.
2020 Tuscan GP qualifying: Hamilton holds pole position in Mugello
“It’s a really tough weekend if I’m really honest,” said pole-sitter Hamilton. “The track is unprecedented at first. This is a really challenging circuit and honestly, you saw that the vorticity was faster than me yesterday and throughout the day and even this morning.
“So I’m working so hard in the background to try and improve on our lines, improve the set-up, and work with the engineers, we did such a great job, and the mechanics always did an amazing job and in the end I got the lap that I needed.
“In the end, I think the wind lifted so I wasn’t able to go any faster, but it was a job nonetheless.”
What will happen next?
The Tuscan Grand Prix closes at 1510 local time, which is 1210 UTC. Is Hamilton ready to go within Michael Schumacher’s all-time win record on Sunday or can teammate Valtteri Bottas find a way to get ahead and chip in on the championship deficit?