Hamilton strikes back with Spanish Grand Prix pole

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton responding to his critics with pole position at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Mercedes driver beat his team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg to P1. While Ferrari slipped behind in competitive form compared to Red Bull during qualifying.

Both Silver Arrows drivers made errors on their first flying lap in Q3, with Hamilton locking his brakes heavily at Turn 10.

But the defending champion recovered to grab pole position on his second run by 0.280 seconds from Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo qualified third quickest for Red Bull Racing, six tenths behind Rosberg’s Mercedes and just over two tenths clear of new team-mate Max Verstappen, who had split the Mercedes after the first runs in Q3.

Ferrari suffered a disappointing session, after a promising form in practice.

Kimi Raikkonen was only fifth quickest, just 0.026 seconds slower than Verstappen, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel qualified 0.221 seconds further back in sixth.

The Williams of Valtteri Bottas beat Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso to seventh place by just over a tenth, with the Force India of Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda rounding out the top ten.

This was McLaren’s first top ten appearance and to have both Spanish drivers at the mid-range of the pack will give the home supporters a cheer.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India split the McLaren-Hondas, failing to make the pole shootout by just 0.011 seconds.

Jenson Button was P12, just under a tenth clear of Toro Rosso returnee Daniil Kvyat.

Romain Grosjean sat inside the top ten after the first runs in Q2, but fell back to P14 after disappointingly failing to improve on his second run.

He was split from Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez by another impressive performance from Renault’s Kevin Magnussen, who qualified P15 in his under-developed car.

The Williams of Felipe Massa fell unexpectedly in Q1, after he aborted his second run. A timing issue was the cause of the early elimination which affected his qualifying.

He ended up P19, just behind the Renault of Jolyon Palmer, who briefly looked set to make it through to Q2 before a late improvement by Button’s McLaren.

Sauber and Manor brought up the rear of the grid. As Marcus Ericsson trailed Felipe Nasr after their first runs, but improved substantially on his second to finish 0.377 seconds clear of his Sauber team-mate.

Pascal Wehrlein also turned tables on Manor team-mate Rio Haryanto during their second runs, with a lap that put him 0.194 seconds clear and less than two tenths shy of Nasr’s Sauber.

Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying times:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m22.000s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m22.280s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m22.680s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m23.087s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m23.113s
6    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m23.334s
7    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m23.522s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m23.643s
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m23.782s
10    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m23.981s
11    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m24.203s
12    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m24.348s
13    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m24.445s
14    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m24.480s
15    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m24.625s
16    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m24.778s
17    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m24.903s
18    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m24.941s
19    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m25.202s
20    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m25.579s
21    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m25.745s
22    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1m25.939s

5 thoughts to “Hamilton strikes back with Spanish Grand Prix pole”

  1. Qualifying report as taken from Formula1.com:

    Lewis Hamilton took an emphatic pole position in Barcelona on Saturday after an intense qualifying battle with Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg. But in a session when much had been expected of Ferrari, the red cars were dramatically upstaged by the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and his new team mate Max Verstappen.

    Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the leading scarlet car, immediately ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel. Then came Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso completed the top ten as McLaren made Q3 for the first time since 2014.

    In Q1, after making only one run apiece the Mercedes were fastest, Rosberg ahead of Hamilton, with the Ferraris (Raikkonen, Vettel) behind the Red Bulls (Verstappen, Ricciardo), both of those teams also conserving rubber.

    The big surprise was that Felipe Massa failed to get through to Q2 after an apparent timing error from Williams left him 18th, just behind Jolyon Palmer who had improved to a respectable three tenths off Renault team mate Kevin Magnussen.

    The other four who failed to get through were Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr in their Saubers, and the Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.

    Hamilton smashed Rosberg by six-tenths in Q2, as he improved by 1.1s while his team mate was only three-tenths faster than he had been in Q1. Verstappen continued to head Ricciardo and Vettel was only fourth, until Raikkonen made amends for a poor first run by squeezing ahead of his team mate, as then did Ricciardo too.

    Nico Hulkenberg was the first faller for Force India, a tenth off Alonso’s time which gave McLaren their first Q3 of the season by a mere 0.011s. Jenson Button in the second MP4-31 was 12th ahead of Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, and the Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, which sandwiched Magnussen’s Renault.

    Hamilton looked as if he was going to carry on where he left off in Q3, until he locked up and ran wide in Turn 10 in the final sector on his first run, handing first place to Rosberg with 1m 22.475s – and second to the sensational Verstappen, whose 1m 23.203s pipped his 1m 23.277s.

    Thus Hamilton had it all to do on his final run. He redeemed himself with a superb 1m 22.000s to beat an improving Rosberg to pole by 0.280s. He described himself as very happy, and very grateful to Mercedes for a car which worked well and reliably.

    Behind them, Ricciardo got it together when it mattered with a brilliant 1m 22.680s to oust his upstart new team mate, who nevertheless impressed greatly with 1m 23.087s for fourth.

    The session was a disaster for Ferrari, with Raikkonen only fifth on 1m 23.113s and Vettel sixth on 1m 23.334s. Both SF16-Hs looked a handful.

    Bottas salvaged seventh for Williams with 1m 23.522s as Sainz was Spain’s top dog with 1m 23.643s for Toro Rosso. That left the fifth row to Perez’s Force India on 1m 23.782s, and Alonso’s McLaren on 1m 23.981s.

    Thus the provisional grid will line up: Hamilton, Rosberg; Ricciardo, Verstappen; Raikkonen, Vettel; Bottas, Sainz; Perez, Alonso; Hulkenberg, Button; Kvyat, Grosjean; Magnussen, Gutierrez; Palmer, Massa; Ericsson, Nasr; Wehrlein, Haryanto.

  2. Lewis Hamilton insisted he is getting his pace together “bit by bit” after taking pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    It had seemed that the German world championship leader was going to dominate qualifying, with the Briton apparently struggling to keep close on the clock.

    Even when it came to Q3, Hamilton was initially left struggling to fend off rivals from Red Bull and Ferrari to join Rosberg on the front row. After his first run was compromised by a heavy lock-up into turn 1, the pressure was really on.

    “Nico was very strong as you could see. There was areas where I needed to pick up and that was really what I tried to do in Turn 10 but it was a little bit too much.

    “When I came in I was just laughing, believe it or not, between those runs – because the lap was so good. I was just giggling thinking it was such a good lap it would have been pole.

    “I’m glad I got it on the second one. While it did put a bit more pressure on the second lap I was still able to get it so I’m happy with that.”

    Hamilton displayed his best form of the weekend to claim pole by a big margin over Rosberg with his final hot lap his third of the season.

    “I’m very, very happy,” beamed Hamilton afterwards. “Getting the lap, obviously Nico has been very strong all weekend so it was crucial. Bit-by-bit, stepping stones, one step at a time I’ve been trying to bring the pace together.

    Source: F1i

  3. Ferrari does not know the reasons behind its lack of competitiveness in Formula 1 qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, after it fell behind Red Bull at Barcelona.

    Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen appeared to be close to the pace of Mercedes during free practice, but both drivers slumped in qualifying, ending up on the third row of the grid and more than a second off the pace.

    “It was a surprise to us as it was to you,” Vettel told the media after qualifying.

    “Currently we don’t yet understand but I’m sure there was a reason for it.

    “I don’t think it was a general lack of speed – we have proven in all sessions so far that we were quite competitive.

    “The car was not behaving similar to what we’ve had all weekend.

    “It was worse and that explains why we lost performance, but we don’t know why it was worse.

    “I don’t believe there’s one corner we were losing [time] – it was pretty much all of them, which would suggest it was a lack of overall grip.”

    Vettel believes Red Bull’s second-row lockout had more to do with Ferrari’s problems than any particular step forward from his former team.

    “I don’t think they are ahead in general, we are quicker than them,” he said.

    “Today, in these circumstances, we didn’t have a great day.

    “It was more us not performing than Mercedes or Red Bull over-performing.

    “Today we are further away than we have been all year, so clearly we weren’t performing the way we should.

    “There was something not right.”

    Raikkonen believes the final, slowest sector of the lap was causing Ferrari the most problems, but he denied that set-up changes after practice had caused the problems.

    “The last sector is where we lose the most,” he said.

    “We are far from where we want to be, but we are trying and pushing.

    “Yes we changed the car [for qualifying], but we are faster than we were this morning.

    “We went forward, but for whatever reason we struggled a bit and the others did a better job.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  4. Double world champion Fernando Alonso commented that the Q3 breakthrough was very significant for McLaren. It has been a challenging season for the Honda-powered team and yet at the Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, Alonso managed to get into the top ten. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Fernando Alonso believes McLaren has broken through a significant barrier after making Q3 for the first time since rejoining Honda for the 2015 Formula 1 season.

    The Spaniard qualified 10th on home soil at Barcelona on Saturday, making it into Q3 by 0.011s ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg at the end of Q2.

    When asked if the result felt like a breakthrough, Alonso said: “I think so. It’s something that we probably deserved.

    “I’ve been watching Q3 on TV for too long now and it’s good to be part of the show.

    “It’s a fantastic feeling, the first time in Q3 and with no big incidents happening [to other cars] it’s good news for us.

    “It’s a barrier that you need to go through one day. It’s the normality that we’re trying to find.

    “It’s something that we probably deserved a couple of races ago but we didn’t maximise the potential there or we didn’t capitalise in the moment.”

    Alonso urged caution though, pointing out that McLaren still had to become a regular top 10 contender and close the significant gap to the front that remains.

    “Let’s enjoy this first step but I’m immediately wanting to think about how to score points,” he said.

    “We are progressing well and moving in the right direction, and all the updates on the car keep making us more competitive.

    “We need to be realistic, there is a long way to go for us and we’re far from pole position.

    “It’s only one step. We need to keep our feet on the ground, but we are definitely very happy because this shows how we are progressing.”

    Team-mate Jenson Button, who qualified 12th, echoed Alonso’s thoughts.

    “It’s good for the team,” he said. “All in all it’s not exactly where we want to be [10th], but good job.

    “It’s quite sad that we’re excited by Q3 but we are. It’s been a long time coming.

    “I don’t think this is a great circuit for us so hopefully this is every race now that we’re fighting for Q3.

    “It’s been a tough weekend for me, but in the end to be 1.5 tenths off Fernando is the best it’s been all weekend so it’s not too bad.”

  5. Max Verstappen is predicting “a lot of progress” once he becomes more comfortable driving for Red Bull in Formula 1 following his Spanish Grand Prix qualifying performance.

    The Dutch teenager will line up on the second row of the grid alongside team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who beat him to third place after a tight battle between the two throughout qualifying.

    When asked how much more was to come from him at Red Bull, Verstappen said: “You should see this as like the first winter test day.

    “It’s a completely different car and you always make a lot of progress.

    “I was very pleased with my first qualifying [with Red Bull], I enjoyed it a lot.

    “We both pushed each other, which is very good for the team.

    “I’m still getting used to finding the limits more, but it was very positive.”

    Asked if he expected the session to go so well, Verstappen added: “No. I didn’t know what to expect.

    “I was just happy with the progress I was making, feeling much better in the car every lap – that’s the most positive thing.”

    Ricciardo, who felt Verstappen’s qualifying laps were “on the money”, said it was exciting to be alongside him in the garage.

    “It’s a challenge having Max in,” he said. “He’s the hottest young property as far as the up-and-comers are concerned.

    “He has created the most hype, and he showed it today, he was very quick throughout qualifying.

    “It’s good for me, more challenges and people to measure myself against.

    “Today I managed to do a good lap in Q3, we’ll see how the season progresses but it’s exciting.”

    Source: Autosport.com

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