Formula 1

Hamilton on Pole for Spanish GP

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton pulled out a spectacular lap to take pole position for tomorrows Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton pulled out a spectacular lap to take pole position for tomorrows Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton has always looked to struggle behind team mate Rosberg in the free practice sessions this weekend. But he pulled out the lap when he needed to most, after a lock up on his first flying run, to claim his first pole position since the Bahrain GP. His time, a 1:22.000, beat Rosberg’s fastest time by nearly three tenths of a second.

“I’m very, very happy.” Said a rather jubilant Hamilton. “Nico has been very strong all week. I’ve been trying to get the pace step-by-step. But this is three out of three for me – I didn’t get to compete in the last two qualifying sessions.”

The surprise of the session was the Red Bull’s beating the Ferraris for a lock out on row two of the grid. With Daniel Ricciardo marginally ahead of Max Verstappen. Verstappen looked on fine form during qualifying for his debut with Red Bull, and even split the Mercedes after the first runs. But, like Hamilton when it mattered, Ricciardo pulled off the best lap of his weekend so far to finish over four tenths of a second in front of his new team mate.

It was a disappointing session for Ferrari, who initially looked like the biggest challengers to Mercedes this weekend. Getting to within two tenths of a second of Mercedes best time in FP2. But the issues came when the track temperature increased, something that favoured the Red Bull car, but meant that Ferrari’s pace disappeared. In the end the team managed a third row lock out. With Kimi Raikkonen 5th, a whole 1.1 seconds off the pace, and Sebastian Vettel 6th a further two tenths behind his team mate. Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene did not seem too thrilled by the result for his team,

“Something went wrong for both drivers. This morning we were far better.”

The Williams of Valtteri Bottas will start 7th tomorrow well ahead of his team mate Felipe Massa. Massa was the shock knockout of Q1. The Brazilian failed to set a competitive lap in the first session, and as a result will start the race from 18th tomorrow.

“I had traffic on my first lap and then we didn’t have enough time to go out again,” explained the Brazilian, who went on to place the blame on the team for not leaving him enough time for a second run.

Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz is the highest placed Spanish driver on the grid in 8th place. Having well and truly beaten new team mate Daniil Kvyat, who will start the race in 13th place. Sharing the fifth row of the grid is Sergio Perez in 9th for Force India, and Fernando Alonso in 10th for McLaren. The Spaniard gave McLaren their first Q3 appearance since the reunification of the McLaren-Honda partnership last season.

Perez’s team mate, Nico Hulkenberg, starts just outside the top ten alongside fellow McLaren driver Jenson Button. Despite having the new front wing the team have developed; Button has been struggling to find balance on the rear of his car all weekend. Romain Grosjean was 14th for Haas, ahead of Renault’s Kevin Magnussen and team mate Esteban Gutierrez in the second Haas. Jolyon Palmer will start in 17th tomorrow after a tough weekend so far for the British rookie. He sat out FP1 as Esteban Ocon got to take his place in the car, while in FP2 he suffered a strange failure on the left rear tyre of his car. Resulting in limited running yesterday.

“I could have found a little bit more in the car,” Palmer said. “It would have helped doing P1 or P2, 15 minutes on Friday is not a lot of running.”

Meanwhile the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr lock out the second to last row of the grid. While the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto lined up at the back.

Spanish GP Qualifying

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:22.000
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:22.280
3. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:22.680
4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:23.087
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:23.113
6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:23.334
7. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:23.522
8. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:23.643
9. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:23.782
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:23.981

11. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:24.203
12. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:24.348
13. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:24.445
14. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:24.480
15. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, 1:24.625
16. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, 1:24.778

17. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:24.903
18. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:24.941
19. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:25.202
20. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:25.579
21. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, 1:25.745
22. Rio Haryanto, Manor, 1:25.939

Feature Image Credit: Red Bull Racing Press Release

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