The first two free practices on Saturday were solid, and the team showed good pace in both sessions. However, Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne were unable to carry this across into qualifying.
While Nyck was obliged to cope with the usual difficult track conditions in the first qualifying group, things looked good for Stoffel until the last sector of his flying lap. Stoffel even thought he was in with a chance of getting into the Super Pole Session. But then he caught the wall a glancing blow and sustained a puncture. This put paid to his aspirations of a forward starting position.
"I have to take full responsibility for my grid position," Stoffel admitted afterwards. "The contact wasn't all that hard to be honest; it was a normal brush, but it was enough to break the rim and cause a puncture."