This one has been a long time coming.
Sebastian Vettel – not that long ago the pole position king of Formula 1 – had not started from the front of the grid since the German Grand Prix last July, 17 races ago. But when he finally broke the duck, he did it with style.
Vettel did not just edge Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes into second place, he smashed his lap out of the park, ending up with an advantage of 0.206 seconds – a sizeable gap at one of the shortest tracks on the calendar.
It was, Vettel admitted, “a big relief”, and it was appropriate it came on a track that has had a special connection with Ferrari ever since the legendary Gilles Villeneuve scored his maiden victory on his home track’s debut on the calendar back in 1978.
It was Ferrari’s first pole since Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc set the pace in Bahrain five races ago. And Mercedes have utterly dominated the start of the season, taking victories in all six races.
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But that statistic was always a slightly misleading one, and although this was a turnaround in form, it was not entirely unexpected.
Ferrari should have had at least one and possibly two victories chalked up already, and this track was always likely to favour them.
The big one that went missing was in Bahrain, the second race of the season, which Leclerc dominated until suffering engine problems late in the race.
Then, two races later in Baku, Leclerc was again looking the man most likely, only to toss his chances away with a crash in qualifying.
Until this weekend, a pattern had looked like it might be emerging at Ferrari. Although Vettel was five-one up in qualifying, the underlying pace was that when the Ferrari as a car was competitive, it was Leclerc who looked the faster driver.