Formula 1

Formula 1: Verstappen eases to pole position in Spain

Max Verstappen dominated in strange conditions that saw a rather mixed up grid, taking his fifth pole position of the season.


Conditions proved to be a strong challenge for many of the drivers in the early stages of qualifying. Though rain had fell earlier in the day, the track was dry by the start of the session, though it lacked a lot of grip. The early minutes saw Alonso, De Vries, Bottas and Albon all lose control of their cars, and the red flag was quickly thrown due to gravel being kicked up onto the track.

When action resumed it became quickly obvious that some drivers were continuing to struggle with the grip levels, or to heat up their tyres. De Vries had spun again at the same place that he had pre-red flag, whilst Perez, Russell and Leclerc were all flirting with the bottom 5.

Track grip increased significantly throughout the course of the session. This allowed Russell to escape the elimination zone with 5 minutes to go, and Perez would do the same slightly after. Russell would improve once again before the end of Q1, whilst Perez would not, having initially brought himself up to 4th. This had quickly turned into 15th however as many other drivers improved around him, and the Mexican only barely escaped the session.

Leclerc however was not so lucky. He was seriously struggling with the rear of his car, which severely limited his pace. In the end, he was only able to qualify 19th on the track he took pole at just one year ago.

Elsewhere Pierre Gasly had impeded on two separate occasions, getting in the way of both Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen. This has resulted in a combined 6 place grid penalty for the French driver for tomorrow’s race.



16. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo +0.103

17. Kevin Magnussen – Haas +0.168

18. Alex Albon – Williams +0.189

19. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari +0.205

20. Logan Sargeant – Williams +0.825



The second part of qualifying had appeared more ordinary for much of the session. However Perez continued to struggle for pace, and when pushing on his final lap, he ended up losing control and put his car into the gravel. Whilst he kept himself out of the barriers, he would ultimately still be eliminated from qualifying.

George Russell also struggled once again, and made his second Q2 exit of the season. He was only able to be 12th fastest, whilst teammate Hamilton was able to find enough time to go 2nd. The two Mercedes drivers also had a strange collision during the session, where it appears Russell is unaware Hamilton is trying to overtake, forcing Hamilton to try and pass round the outside. However, Hamilton’s front wing had clipped Russell’s car, causing the end plate to come off.

Both McLaren drivers proved their car to be quite punchy around this circuit, with Piastri going 6th, whilst Norris was 2nd quickest.



11. Sergio Perez – Red Bull +0.051

12.George Russell – Mercedes +0.164

13. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo +0.238

14. Nyck De Vries – Alpha Tauri +0.800

15. Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri +1.194



Verstappen threw the gauntlet down early with a time that was 9 tenths faster than the next fastest time set by Hamilton, though he was the only one on fresh softs. Despite this, no one was able to gain enough time on their final runs and Verstappen was able to confirm pole with his banker lap, even though he was on pace to improve further.

Norris demonstrated the pace of the McLaren once again by going third fastest, even if Piastri was the slowest in the session. Pierre Gasly had gone 4th fastest, though the aforementioned 6-place penalty means he will start tomorrow in 9th.

Alonso struggled as floor damage on his Aston Martin limited his performance, allowing him to be outqualified by his teammate Lance Stroll for the first time this season.


Qualifying Results

1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull 1:12.272

2. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari +0.462

3. Lando Norris – McLaren +0.520

4. Pierre Gasly – Alpine +0.544 (6 place grid penalty)

5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +0.546

6. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin +0.722

7. Esteban Ocon – Alpine +0.811

8. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas +0.957

9. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin +1.235

10. Oscar Piastri– McLaren +1.410

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