A 15-minute delay to the beginning of qualifying, owed to clearing the track of debris, meant Q3 ran late. That allowed for a storm to reach within the closing levels of the shootout.
Consequently, Q3 was finally red-flagged with 4 minutes to run when the thunder and lightning hit.
Max Verstappen therefore bagged pole for the Sunday race with a 1min10.727s flying lap set early within the session. The Purple Bull driver pipped Leclerc by 0.294s, however each known as out their messy laps as they felt grip ranges vanished even with out rain.
As clouds arrived overhead to plunge the monitor into darkness, wind ranges elevated to destabilise the automobiles. That created circumstances Leclerc had by no means beforehand skilled and left him to think about binning his sizzling lap.
He mentioned: “To be trustworthy, at this time was, in my entire profession, I’ve by no means skilled one thing like that.
“From Flip 4 onwards there was no rain. However the automobile was extraordinarily tough to drive – no grip.
“I used to be enthusiastic about simply coming in on the finish of the lap. Then I completed after which P2, so it is a actually good shock. However it’s a really bizarre one for everyone out on monitor at this time.”
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
High three qualifiers Lance Stroll, Aston Martin F1 Crew, pole man Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing, Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari
He added: “In these dash weekends, there’s at all times an enormous query mark on the race tempo. However I hope it will likely be a very good one.
“Hopefully there will not be an excessive amount of rain tomorrow [for the sprint race] and Sunday.
Three-time world champion Verstappen known as out the “insane climate” that he reckoned led to a “horrible” lap.
He mentioned: “We did not know when [rain] would hit in qualifying however we thought it could hit.
“However that is, in fact, insane climate. Charles and I had been simply discussing our laps, they felt horrible.
“I believe the wind began to vary and began to be very sturdy. We misplaced numerous lap time due to it. It was all fairly hectic within the final lap.”
“It appears that evidently is all very shut. You’ll be able to see that already in qualifying.
“I count on the identical additionally within the race round right here – there’s at all times various [degradation] from the tyres. So, it is all about that administration.”