Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took his fourth Formula 1 pole position of the season after edging closest rival Max Verstappen in the closing stages of qualifying at Barcelona.
Leclerc bounced back from a spin to come out on top, while a power issue with Verstappen’s Red Bull left the Dutchman in second ahead of Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Q1: Advantage Ferrari but home favourite falters
Sergio Perez recorded an early benchmark of 1m20.447s, before his Red Bull team-mate Verstappen went 0.356s quicker. But the pair were beaten by both Ferraris, with Leclerc setting a 1m19.861s to top the session by 0.031s from Sainz.
George Russell moved up to fourth in the improved Mercedes, with Haas’s Kevin Magnussen separating the Briton from his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who was sixth. Perez slipped back to eighth behind Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas after a trip through the gravel.
Sebastian Vettel missed out on Q2 by 0.074s by qualifying 16th in the heavily updated Aston Martin, which has been at the centre of controversy for its resemblance to Red Bull’s car. Local hero Fernando Alonso was also eliminated for Alpine in 17th, with Aston’s Lance Stroll and Williams duo Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi also failing to make it through.
16th Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin
17th Fernando Alonso Alpine
18th Lance Stroll Aston Martin
19th Alex Albon Williams
20th Nicholas Latifi Williams
Q2: Verstappen responds as penalty denies Norris
Russell was again faster than Hamilton, leading most of the session with a 1m19.470s. Sainz dipped under Russell’s time by 0.017s, but it was Verstappen who ended up quickest with a late 1m19.219s lap.
It was a strong session for Haas, with Kevin Magnussen fifth and Mick Schumacher 10th. The latter made it into Q3 for the first time in his career at the expense of McLaren’s Lando Norris, who had his best laptime deleted for exceeding track limits, dropping him from seventh to 11th. Perez was sixth ahead of Leclerc, Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Alpha Tauri team-mates Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly and Alfa’s Guanyu Zhou also failed to progress.
11th Lando Norris McLaren
12th Esteban Ocon Alpine
13th Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri
14th Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri
15th Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo
Q3: Leclerc recovers from spin to seal pole
Hamilton set an early 1m19.664s lap, but his effort was beaten by both Sainz and Russell. Verstappen then rocketed to the front with a 1m19.073s, with Perez moving ahead of Russell into third. Leclerc’s first run ended with a spin into the final chicane.
After putting on fresh tyres, Verstappen aborted his final run after complaining of a loss of power. That left him vulnerable to a challenge from Leclerc, who put in a 1m18.750s to snatch pole by 0.350s. Sainz improved to third for his home Grand Prix on his final lap, ahead of Russell and Perez. Hamilton also improved, but his time was only good enough for sixth.
Bottas was 0.1s further back in seventh ahead of Magnussen. Ricciardo was ninth for McLaren ahead of Schumacher.
1st Charles Leclerc Ferrari
2nd Max Verstappen Red Bull
3rd Carlos Sainz Ferrari
4th George Russel Mercedes
5th Sergio Perez Red Bull
6th Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
7th Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo
8th Kevin Magnussen Haas
9th Daniel Ricciardo McLaren
10th Mick Schumacher Haas
Featured image credit: @f1 official twitter