Lewis Hamilton had set the practice pace, but things had turned around by the time the first Q3 laps had been completed, with his team-mate now heading the times. One final effort coming up - maximum attack, maximum pressure.
The Mercedes flew through the first sector, rapid as ever, but early in the second sector things went suddenly wrong. It was off the track, the yellow flags flying. Hamilton came across the incident and could not improve his time.
The mood between the Mercedes drivers was frosty despite the heat. Questions about their relationship abounded - would it threaten the team's decisive advantage at the head of Formula 1 field?