Defending champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 92nd pole position in Formula 1 by beating his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
All the drivers in the top ten made it through to Q3 on the soft Pirelli compound, so there will be no risky strategy attempts at the start of Sunday’s race.
Hamilton led the way after the first runs in Q3 with a time of one minute, 15.584 seconds, which put him 0.059-seconds clear of his teammate, despite only setting the fastest time in the third sector.
Bottas ran ahead on the final runs and although he did manage to edge Hamilton in the first sector and establish a new best second sector, he faded in the final part of the lap and could not improve his position.
Hamilton also did not go faster on his final run, but pole position was already secure.
Verstappen edged Sergio Perez for third, as he too failed to improve on his final run, with Perez setting a personal best but still being unable to get ahead of the Red Bull.
Lance Stroll was sixth ahead of Alex Albon, with Carlos Sainz Jr leading Lando Norris who only made into Q3 by 0.002 seconds, in seventh and eighth for McLaren.
Charles Leclerc was the lead Ferrari but ended up down in ninth position, with Pierre Gasly making into in Q3 for the fourth time this season and then rounding out the top ten on the grid.
Gasly’s late improvement at the very end of Q2 knocked out Sebastian Vettel, and he will start P11 for the second race in a row – the third time this season he has not made it into the final part of qualifying.
It’s unfortunate that Vettel’s form in the Ferrari is so lacklustre. He is a classy driver who won four world championship in the past so it’s puzzling why Sebastian is struggling so much this season…
Daniil Kvyat, who will face a post-qualifying investigation for an incident with Kevin Magnussen at the second corner in Q1, took P12 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.
Kimi Raikkonen scored his best qualifying result so far in 2020 with P14, as Esteban Ocon finished as the slowest driver in Q2.
Ocon improved with his final run – all drivers that went for a second effort (which did not include the Mercedes pair and Verstappen) set personal bests apart from Sainz and Leclerc – but it was not enough.
In Q1, Raikkonen made it out of the first part of qualifying for the first time this season as the two Haas cars could not improve enough to stop the Alfa Romeo’s progress, despite him setting his final flying lap early in the pack of cars attempting a last blast in the first segment.
Kevin Magnussen managed to outqualify Romain Grosjean despite being behind in all three practice sessions – with Grosjean sixth and fifth in FP1 and FP2 respectively – but his final lap improvement left him P16 and out.
George Russell did not make it into Q2 for the first time since the season opener, but maintains his perfect 100% qualifying record over Nicholas Latifi and Williams.
Antonio Giovinazzi finished last in Q1, almost a second slower than his teammate with his best time, after earlier running heavily over the kerb at the exit of the final corner on his penultimate flying effort.
So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this impressive qualifying result. 92 poles in Formula 1. Excellent performance. Going to be a fascinating race as overtaking is tricky at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Qualifying positions, Spanish Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.584
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.643
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:16.292
4 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:16.482
5 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:16.589
6 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:17.029
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:17.044
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:17.084
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:17.087
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:17.136
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.168
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:17.192
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:17.198
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:17.386
15 Esteban Ocon Renaul 1:17.567
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:17.908
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:18.089
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:18.099
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:18.532
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:18.697