It was a decision that ultimately proved decisive in determining the victor of the Canadian Grand Prix - but how did the stewards explain why Sebastian Vettel was penalised with a five-second time penalty?
"We did a good performance from free practice one to free practice two; the auto felt better but we shall do another step to try to challenge Mercedes tomorrow".
But Ferrari's prodigious straight-line speed came to the rescue on the pair's second laps.
Vettel beamed as he talked to a congratulatory Hamilton after the session.
"I hope this is a turning point for them", he said of Ferrari, "and I hope we're going to be very close from now on and throughout the season - that would be fantastic".
"You can not compare this time with 20 or 30 years ago when Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell or whoever collapsed after a race", Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said on Friday. When Norris answered that he was 19, all that Lewis Hamilton could say was, "Shoot,".
"The vehicle felt better and better through qualifying". "These guys [Mercedes] will be very quick over the distance, but we'll try everything".
Qualifying will determine grid positions as Mercedes attempt to maintain their ideal series with a seventh win in the season's seventh race.
Lewis Hamilton came up short during qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday - but if he was disappointed, he sure wasn't showing it.
"But I am not sitting here trying to paint things black we haven't done a single lap this weekend so I am quite optimistic it was a strong track for us past year. Sometimes you do these races and I could probably do two or three races in a row and Formula One should not be like that".
"It was a great race, they [the crowd] cheered me on all the race". His team-mate Charles Leclerc will also be in the running from third.
"The guys and girls in the garage did a great job to fit the new power unit in time for qualifying, but I just felt on the back foot going into the session", he said. "I need to work on that and the tyres to have the right setup for the final Q3 time".
Hamilton did not appear to be disappointed and suggested Ferrari being on pole was good for the show.
Race stewards decided Vettel had rejoined the track unsafely and penalised him five seconds for forcing him off the track.
Sainz will be investigated after the session for impeding Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon in Turn 2 during Q1.
Second qualifying ended in spectacular fashion when Magnussen brushed the "Wall of Champions" coming out of the final chicane into the home straight, sending his Haas spinning across the track, slamming hard into the opposite barrier and spewing debris everywhere.
The British driver was the quickest man on the track in the third round of qualifying, leading the pack by two tenths of a second before Vettel's ideal final lap.
But the highest profile affected driver was Max Verstappen.
Qualifying is at 10pm UAE time on Saturday, with the race due to start at 10.10pm.
Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon both dropped out in Q2, finishing 12th and 14th, with Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi splitting the pair in P13.