Hamilton beats Vettel to Spanish pole by a margin of 0.051 seconds

Lewis Hamilton beat his Formula 1 championship rival Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix by less than one tenth of a second after a thrilling qualifying duel.

Ferrari had set the pace in final practice at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, but Hamilton’s Mercedes held the advantage in qualifying after the first runs in Q3, setting a time of one minute, 19.149 seconds that would eventually became pole when Hamilton failed to improve on his second run.

Vettel suffered from a de-rating of his Ferrari’s energy recovery system during his first Q3 run, and was a distant fourth quickest as a result, but he was lapping comfortably faster than Hamilton’s pole time on his final run before locking up at the final chicane.

Vettel eventually cut the timing beam in one minute, 19.200 seconds, half a tenth down on Hamilton, apologising to Ferrari on the radio for the mistake.

Russian Grand Prix winner Valtteri Bottas was third fastest, recovering from a wild slide exiting the chicane on his first Q3 run to ultimately lap 0.173 seconds slower than Vettel with a small improvement on his second run.

Bottas described his performance as “not good enough”, but it was enough to beat his fellow countryman, Kimi Raikkonen to fourth.

The Ferrari driver suffered an oversteer moment at Turn 12 on his first Q3 run and lost time in sector two on his final effort.

Max Verstappen was well clear of Daniel Ricciardo in the private battle between Red Bulls to be fifth, while Fernando Alonso produced an awesome performance to haul McLaren-Honda into Q3 for the first time this season and qualify seventh fastest.

The home crowd favourite had a difficult start in practice with an oil leak. Alonso was so fed up with this McLaren-Honda technical issue that he returned back to hotel to play tennis! Come qualifying, Fernando produced miracles to qualify in seventh place.

Force India got both its cars into the top ten again, sandwiching Felipe Massa’s ninth placed Williams.

Sergio Perez was eighth and Esteban Ocon tenth, Ocon feeling his lost two tenths after failing to engage DRS at a crucial moment.

Kevin Magnussen missed out on making the top ten by less than a tenth, while Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean wound up down in P14 after losing the rear end of his car and going off at Turn 13 and the chicane on his final Q2 lap.

Carlos Sainz looked in excellent shape through Q1 and the initial runs in Q2, where he was always inside the top ten, but he only found 0.015 seconds on his final Q2 run so ended up P12.

The Toro Rosso driver felt he extracted the maximum from the heavily updated car, finishing just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, which failed to make Q3 for the first time since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, provoking an angry response from Hulkenberg on team radio.

Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber was P15, having done very well to win a tight scrap to escape Q1.

Less than a second covered 14 cars in that fight, with Perez’s Force India the only car outside the top six not required to make a second run.

Wehrlein edged out Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson by just 0.005 seconds to make the cut, while Jolyon Palmer’s Renault, Lance Stroll’s Williams, Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso all missed out.

Congratulations to Lewis Hamiltonn in recording pole position but the star of qualifying is Fernando Alonso. Seventh position in the McLaren-Honda is remarkable and fingers crossed the car stays reliable in the race.

Qualifying positions, Spanish Grand Prix:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m19.149s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m19.200s
3    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m19.373s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m19.439s
5    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m19.706s
6    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m20.175s
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m21.048s
8    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m21.070s
9    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m21.232s
10    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m21.272s
11    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1m21.329s
12    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m21.371s
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m21.397s
14    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m21.517s
15    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m21.803s
16    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m22.332s
17    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m22.401s
18    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m22.411s
19    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1m22.532s
20    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m22.746s

7 thoughts on “Hamilton beats Vettel to Spanish pole by a margin of 0.051 seconds

  1. Spanish Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Just 0.051s separated Mercedes and Ferrari in qualifying for the Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Pirelli 2017 as Lewis Hamilton defeated title rival and points leader Sebastian Vettel in the battle for pole position in Barcelona. Their respective team mates Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen will fill the second row of the grid for Sunday’s race.

    The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth, with local hero Fernando Alonso a remarkable seventh in what was arguably the drive of the day for McLaren. The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, split by the Williams of Felipe Massa, completed the top ten.

    In track temperatures nudging 44 degrees Celsius and an ambient of 26, Vettel was one of the first out, on soft tyres, in Q1, which was a credit to Ferrari who had changed his engine routinely for Saturday morning, but then changed to a third unit after FP3 as a precaution when the new one developed a water leak towards the end of the morning session.

    But he had only just embarked on a quick lap when he was instructed first to stop the car, then to pit, or at last to make it as far as the pits. Instead, however, he stayed out and banged in the fastest time of 1m 20.939s, which suggested that what he had been able to monitor in the cockpit overrode concerns the team were having.

    Bottas failed to match that with 1m 20.991s, but Hamilton beat it with 1m 20.551s to go to the top, while Raikkonen only managed fourth with 1m 21.120s on his first try, but improved to second subsequently with 1m 20.742s. The Red Bulls were fifth and sixth, Verstappen just ahead of Ricciardo.

    Pascal Wehrlein was a star for Sauber, getting into Q2 with 15th fastest time, which left team mate Marcus Ericsson as the first faller in 16th on 1m 22.332s. The Swede was followed by a struggling Jolyon Palmer in a Renault four-tenths slower than his team mate’s in 1m 22.401, Lance Stroll’s Williams on 1m 22.411s, Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren on 1m 22.532s and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso on 1m 22.746s.

    Q2 saw Bottas spoil his first run by going wide in Turn 1. That left him behind Hamilton on 1m 20.210s and Raikkonen on 1m 20.621s. Bottas then made amends by going second with 1m 20.300s.

    Vettel went second, with 1m 20.295s, as Verstappen and Ricciardo took their customary fifth and sixth places ahead of Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Ocon, leaving the Haas drivers to battle with Alonso, Massa, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Perez to get into Q3.

    This battle got even more heated as the wind picked up, and finally saw Ocon spring up to seventh from Massa, Perez and Alonso, in a tremendous performance in the McLaren. That left Kevin Magnussen 11th for Haas on 1m 21.329s ahead of a bitterly disappointed Sainz who had been seventh prior to the final runs, taking 12th on 1m 21.371s. Hulkenberg couldn’t work his magic for Renault and was next on 1m 21.397s ahead of an unhappy Romain Grosjean’s off-roading Haas on 1m 21.517s and Wehrlein’s Sauber on 1m 21.803s.

    So, as ever, it all came down to Q3, with Mercedes and Ferrari apparently still neck and neck, having brought upgrades of almost equal value.

    Hamilton won the first round, with 1m 19.149s to Bottas’s 1m 19.390s, Raikkonen’s 1m 19.639s and Vettel’s 1m 19.661s. Verstappen was also a threat with 1m 19.767s, but Ricciardo fell short at 1m 20.265s.

    Hamilton failed to improve on his second run but Vettel did, moving past Bottas into second place with 1m 19.200s as the Finn also improved, to 1m 19.373s. Raikkonen went faster too, but 1m 19.439s left him fourth.

    With Verstappen going faster but keeping fifth with a great 1m 19.706s best and Ricciardo staying sixth with 1m 20.175s, the other star was Alonso who put a McLaren Honda seventh on a power track in 1m 21.048s just ahead of Perez in the lead Force India with 1m 21.070s. Massa put Williams ninth with 1m 21.232s and the impressive Ocon dropped to 10th with 1m 21.272s.

    Thus the provisional grid will line up: Hamilton, Vettel; Bottas, Raikkonen; Verstappen, Ricciardo; Alonso, Perez; Massa, Ocon; Magnussen, Sainz; Hulkenberg, Grosjean; Wehrlein, Ericsson; Palmer, Stroll; Vandoorne, Kvyat.

  2. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel rues last-gasp error that cost him the chance of landing the Barcelona pole position. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel says his error at the final chicane on his best qualifying lap cost him pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona.

    Vettel qualified second, 0.051s behind Lewis Hamilton, and radioed on his in-lap – “I had it, I had it” – after he ran wide at the final chicane, locking up and missing the first apex.

    He had been ahead of Hamilton over the majority of the lap.

    “I’ve been coming here a long time, so many laps, and still the last chicane is a tricky one for me,” he rued. “First Q3 run I wasn’t entirely happy, I knew there was more.

    “The second one was really good until that final chicane, it was really close. Well done to Lewis.”
    Engine swap “miracle”

    Vettel also paid tribute to his Ferrari mechanics, who changed his car’s engine between FP3 and qualifying, and survived a scare in Q1 when the team told him to stop the car due to an issue.

    “A big thank you to the team, because we had to change the engine last minute and the car was just about finished, so today is really for the mechanics – also from Kimi’s car that helped out, grazie,” he said.

    “Unbelievable, they did an engine change sub two hours. If you ever see the car stripped, there’s a lot of bits and bobs that needs to be reconnected. It’s a miracle that they got me out.

    “It would have been nice to get them the pole, but hopefully we can do well tomorrow.”

    On the subject of Ferrari’s upgrades for Barcelona, Vettel said he was happy with the development progress that the team had made.

    “We have [upgrades] as well, some things you can see, some things you can’t,” he said. “Sometimes upgrades are more flashy than others, but the car is good.

    “I felt yesterday we had it in the car. Today we could extract it, and there was maybe a tiny bit more. Much better in terms of feel today.”

  3. Qualifying hero Fernando Alonso says P7 a “gift” but wants trouble-free race in the McLaren-Honda. Motorsport.com has the news piece.

    Fernando Alonso labelled his seventh place on the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix a “gift” after making it to Q3 for the first time this year.

    The McLaren driver, who was unable to run in first Friday practice after another engine failure, had his best qualifying performance since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, finishing as ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

    Alonso had outqualified teammate Stoffel Vandoorne by half a second in Q1, the Belgian finishing down in 19th place.

    Although the Spaniard – who will race in the Indianapolis 500 this month – insisted the goal was to score points on Sunday, he said qualifying had been “beautiful”.

    “Maybe on the oval I learned how to go quick on the straights as well,” Alonso joked. “It was a good qualifying for us and P7 is a gift, so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

    He added: “As I said yesterday, sometimes the weekends start the wrong way but then they fix themselves, and vice versa. The important thing is tomorrow, to try to get a few points.

    “But today was a beautiful day, a beautiful qualifying in which we were finding tenth after tenth. Then surprisingly we made it into Q3, and we had another very good lap.”

    Alonso conceded qualifying seventh was a bit of a surprise, but said he expected McLaren to be stronger despite a torrid start to the weekend.

    “Yesterday was not a normal session,” he added. “We had the problem in the first session and then in the second the car was half ready. But I said we would be a bit more competitive today.

    “It was better than expected but the support from the people gives you a few extra tenths.”

    The two-time champion is now hoping for a trouble-free race after three consecutive retirements.

    He said: “In the end you never know when you are going to have a problem. We’ve had too many this year and some have come as a surprise, so let’s hope tomorrow is not that day and that we can grab a few points.”

  4. Last year’s Spanish Grand Prix race winner Max Verstappen commented that Red Bull has taken a “massive” step forward in terms of car development. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Max Verstappen believes his Red Bull F1 team has taken a “massive” step forward after qualifying closer to the leaders ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Like all its rivals, Red Bull has introduced a significant upgrade package for its car this weekend, and Verstappen reckons it has helped the team reduce the gap significantly to Mercedes and Ferrari.

    Verstappen qualified less than six tenths behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona, having been nearly two seconds off the pace in the previous qualifying in Russia.

    “Absolutely we went forward,” said Verstappen after finishing fifth. “So far this weekend before qualifying we were still finding the balance a bit with the new upgrades, but I think in qualifying we were spot on.

    “I think the car was definitely the best I’ve had all season, so I’m very happy. It was a good qualifying.

    “To come from one second to six tenths is a massive step already. Now we just need to keep pushing on the car side and wait to see what comes from the engine.

    “We cannot control that. We are definitely more positive at the moment.”

    The Dutchman said the upgrades have translated into a huge improvement to the balance of the car, but reckons the RB13 has got stronger in every area.

    “I think everywhere,” he said when asked where had the car improved. “The car has a better balance from entry to mid and mid to exit of the corner. I think now it’s a much more stable balance and you can push a lot more, and I think it showed today.

    “For me the balance was really good and now we just need to keep on working to get even more downforce in the car. But if you look at the last sector I was third-quickest of all the drivers, so that shows we are on the good way.”

    The Red Bull driver acknowledged that closing the gap further will not be as easy, but he feels the team is now heading in the right direction.

    “Well, we had to. It’s easier to make a slow car faster and to close that gap, because 1.5 seconds is a lot. Now it’s six tenths. Now it will be hard to close those six tenths, but we are working on it.

    “Like I said, the car has a much more stable balance. For sure there’s still a bit to unlock from the car and then the rest we need to get it from the engine side as well, because we know in qualifying specially Mercedes can just turn up the engine which we can’t do.

    “It was a very positive day for us.”

  5. Fernando Alonso thinks he would need more than 50 brake horsepower extra from his Honda engine to fight for pole position in Formula 1, after qualifying seventh for the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The Spaniard lapped 1.899s off Lewis Hamilton’s Barcelona pole position time to match the best qualifying position of his second stint at McLaren even though he lost all of Friday’s first free practice session to an engine failure.

    This is the first time Alonso has reached Q3 in 2017, but he believes another major step is needed from Honda to have any chance of fighting at the front.

    “I don’t think that 50 is enough,” said Alonso when asked after qualifying if an extra 50bhp would allow him to be on pole.

    “Maybe it’s a bit more than that.

    “Hopefully we improve the situation, not only the performance side but the reliability because sometimes we could take some points and the past and we had to stop the car.”

    Alonso suggested problems during Friday practice had shrouded the real potential of the car, which features a significant upgrade package this weekend.

    While he described qualifying seventh as “a surprise”, he said the improved car gave him confidence to attack.

    “It has to be a combination of the two,” said Alonso when asked if his strong performance was down to the driver or car.

    “My feeling is the car because I did nothing differently to any other qualification, but the car was giving me the confidence always to push.

    “The conditions were quite difficult with the wind, but I never had a moment when I lost the confidence so the car was performing really well.

    “Yesterday, we saw the potential but we had strange sessions but today we put everything together.”

    Alonso is hopeful of being able to score his first points of the season in tomorrow’s race given overtaking is difficult at the Spanish GP circuit.

    “It’s a track that is very difficult to follow on, so if we do a good start and keep this position the points are a real possibility,” said Alonso, who conceded that the extended DRS zone for this weekend could work against him due to his power disadvantage.

    “I’m only thinking of the start, how to overtake the Red Bulls. I want to be in the top five in the first couple of laps.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  6. Daniil Kvyat says his Toro Rosso STR12 car felt like it was “driving on its own” as he struggled to a last-place finish in Spanish GP qualifying.

    Kvyat had progressed out of Q1 in all four of the season’s preceding qualifying sessions, but a lap 2.235s off the pace in the first segment left him 20th in the order at the chequered flag.

    He was eight tenths off teammate Carlos Sainz, who comfortably progressed to Q2 and would go on to qualify 12th.

    Talking to the media after qualifying, Kvyat lamented a lack of grip and lots of “sliding” from his STR12 and was adamant that something was wrong with the car.

    Asked what had gone wrong, he quipped: “Except for everything, nothing.

    “I mean, the car was very hard to drive, pretty sure it was completely out of the window so we need to understand why it happened.

    “I was losing time in the corners where it is hard to imagine [you can] lose time. Something is wrong but we will work hard to understand what.”

    He added: “The car was not driven by me today, it was driving on its own.”

    Kvyat had struggled to match teammate Sainz’s pace through Friday practice, and while he was likewise slower in FP3, he said his car had improved – only to become less competitive again heading into qualifying.

    “The things seemed to be a bit better today in the morning but then in qualifying it went back again to where it was yesterday. We need to analyse why it did like that because I never really got to a happy window with the car.

    “Since the beginning [of qualifying], it was clear that it was going to be a very tough session.

    “I’m encouraging everyone to jump on top of the things because the car is not doing what I want and when the car is not doing what I want, I cannot drive it.”

    Teammate Sainz admitted Toro Rosso had anticipated it would be more competitive in Barcelona – a track that has so far yielded both his career-best grid position and a joint-best race finish in F1.

    “I think we all expected a bit more from this weekend, particularly at a track where we performed really well in the past,” Sainz said.

    “P5 in qualy two years ago, P8 last year – today P12, so obviously we expected a bit more than this.”

    While he was within the top 10 in all three practice sessions and Q1, the Spaniard told his team that 12th was “the maximum” after he was eliminated in Q2 – and stood by that statement later on.

    “I said that because I meant it. When you do two laps that are exactly the same – [1m]21.3[s], 21.3 – there is little you can do to extract more from it. I did exactly two copy-paste laps.

    “I couldn’t have done more. And when you put things into perspective and when you see where my teammate is and everything, it means there is not much more in the car at the moment.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  7. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen admitted he needs to “drive better” after qualifying “mess”. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen says he needs to drive better after making “a mess” of his Spanish Grand Prix Formula 1 qualifying session.

    The Finn outpaced his teammate Sebastian Vettel in all three practice sessions in Spain, including topping the latter, but made a series of “small mistakes” when it counted in qualifying.

    Raikkonen felt pole was possible but ended up fourth quickest, 0.290s off the pace of pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, who pipped Vettel by just 0.051s.

    “[I need to] drive better – don’t make those mistakes,” said Raikkonen. “I struggled for whatever reason to put a decent lap, all the corners together in qualifying.

    “I thought I had a lot of speed but I never really managed to make a good lap out of it. I ran wide already in Turn 1, but I managed to get out of it and I was still fast.

    “Then in Turn 4 and 5 I just ran really wide and lost quite a bit of laptime there. Without those [mistakes] there was, for sure, enough laptime to challenge for the first place.

    “It’s a bit disappointing to make a mess out of it but we’ll try tomorrow.”

    Despite missing out on a first pole in nine years – the French Grand Prix in 2008 was his last – Raikkonen is encouraged by Ferrari’s pace and the performance of its Barcelona upgrade.

    “Definitely we are close,” said Raikkonen. “The car has been good. We have done our own stuff [update] – we have no control over what the others are doing.

    “We have a solid package that we try to improve and bring small things here and there. Sometimes when it looks a lot different it doesn’t mean you are one second faster.

    “We’ve been quite happy with where we’ve been, especially with these conditions – usually it’s not our strongest point so it was a good result today.”

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