Hamilton achieves his 100th career pole position

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 100th Formula 1 career pole position at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, edging out main rival Max Verstappen for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas will start third in the other Mercedes, with both Black Arrows cars and the leading Red Bull joining the rest of the Q3 runners in getting through the middle segment of qualifying on the soft tyres, on which they will start the race.

Hamilton led the way after the opening runs in Q3 with a one minute, 16.741 seconds, with Verstappen slotting in 0.036 seconds behind.

But none of the top three went faster on their second runs, with Hamilton falling from a personal best in the first sector to end up behind overall – particularly losing a chunk sliding wide and onto the big kerb at the exit of the penultimate corner.

That gave Verstappen a chance to steal ahead, but failed to improve on his best times in any of the Barcelona track’s three sectors, as did Bottas.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc did set a personal best on his final Q3 lap to take P4 ahead of Alpine driver and Carlos Sainz, who had headed Leclerc throughout Q1 and Q2.

Daniel Ricciardo surged back from his Portimao Q1 elimination to take seventh for McLaren and beat Sergio Perez, who spun heading into the downhill Turn 13 right ahead of the final chicane on his opening run in Q3.

Perez had dipped his left-side wheels into the gravel and violently spun around as a result, but was able to get away from the danger spot before Hamilton, who was running behind the Red Bull on his way to set what was the pole time, came through.

Lando Norris finished ninth in the second McLaren ahead of Fernando Alonso.

In Q2, Ricciardo’s improvement on his final flying lap – which included the segment’s best time in the first sector – knocked out Lance Stroll.

Pierre Gasly had looked rapid in Q1 but was eliminated in Q2 for the first time this season, finishing just ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who did not set a personal best with his final flying lap and ended up P13.

Antonio Giovinazzi beat George Russell to P14 after the pair had escaped Q1 together for the second race in a row.

Russell ran out of sequence with the rest of the Q2 runners, setting his time ahead of the final runs in what was a single effort that was significantly off the pace in the middle part of the session.

Giovinazzi took a sighter on the mediums early in Q2 and then improved when switching back to the softs for a final run in the session’s final moments to comfortably slot in ahead of Russell.

Q1 had several big moments involving traffic backing up ahead of their flying laps, one of which, where Norris was coming to complete a hot lap and caught three cars at the final chicane, with two more going slowing out of the sequence, is being investigated now qualifying has finished.

Yuki Tsunoda was the shock elimination in Q1, after the AlphaTauri driver had pushed on during his warm-up lap to overtake Leclerc to run at the head of the pack.

He set a personal best time on his last lap, as did all the other drivers knocked out in Q1, but Tsunoda was shuffled back down the order as others improved, with Russell completing the final flying lap to edge out Tsunoda at the very last moment.

Kimi Raikkonen ended up P17 ahead of Mick Schumacher, who scored his best on-merit Formula 1 qualifying position in P18 (the Haas driver also finished P18 in Imola qualifying, after Tsunoda had crashed out at the start of Q1).

Nicholas Latifi ended up behind Schumacher after damaging his car running heavily over the kerbs at the exit of Campsa mid-way through Q1 – an incident that also smashed the Williams’s left-hand side wing mirror.

Nikita Mazepin brought up the rear of the field in the Haas.

So a wonderful achievement by Lewis Hamilton to grab his 100th career pole position in the sport. He is number one in Formula 1’s history in terms of starting at the sharp end of the grid. Congratulations.

Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.741
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:16.777
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:16.873
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:17.510
5 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:17.580
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:17.620
7 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.622
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:17.701
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.010
10 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:18.147
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:17.974
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:17.982
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:18.079
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:18.356
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:19.154
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:18.556
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:18.917
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:19.117
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:19.219
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:19.807

5 thoughts to “Hamilton achieves his 100th career pole position”

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

    Lewis Hamilton has become the first driver in the history of Formula 1 to make it to 100 pole positions, triumphing over the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by just 0.036s in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, as his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas claimed P3.

    Hamilton set a blistering 1m 16.741s on his first lap in Q3, with Verstappen narrowly behind. But with all eyes trained on the fight at the front in the final minutes of qualifying, neither Hamilton, Verstappen nor Bottas could improve on their second runs, meaning Hamilton claimed his record-extending 100th pole position – with the Mercedes driver yelling exuberantly on team radio after a phenomenal milestone in the history of Formula 1 was reached.

    It wasn’t all bad for Verstappen, however, who after showing strong pace in Q2 to lead the segment, claimed his first ever front row start at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, ahead of Bottas.

    Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc confirmed the Scuderia’s turn of speed this weekend with P4, as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon continued the team’s form from Portimao with fifth. Home hero Carlos Sainz was sixth in the second Ferrari, ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who had just one lap in Q3 but managed to get ahead of his ninth placed team mate Lando Norris – who’d led the way in Q1.

    The second Red Bull of Sergio Perez could only manage P8 after a difficult weekend so far for the Mexican, with the second home driver Fernando Alonso in P10.

    So that was the top 10 – but all the accolades today are for Lewis Hamilton, the first driver to make it triple figures in pole positions in F1 history.

    Q1 – Norris fastest as Tsunoda makes shock exit

    Following a 10-minute delay to the start of the session as a Tecpro barrier was put back in place after a support race crash, the drivers headed out onto a hot Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with track temperatures up in the mid-40s – and air temperatures in the mid-20s.

    Yuki Tsunoda would be the shock casualty from the first segment, the Japanese driver running wide on his final flying effort going through Turn 9 and crossing the line a mere 0.735s off the fastest Q1 lap – but with that enough to see him out of the segment for the second time in his four F1 race weekends. “I can’t ******g believe this car,” he screamed frustratedly over the radio.

    Tsunoda in 16th was joined in the drop zone by the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen, the Haas of Mick Schumacher, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi (who smashed his left-hand mirror after going over the bumps at Turn 9) and the second Haas of Nikita Mazepin – Haas outqualifying another team on pure pace for the first time in 2021.

    Up at the front, though, and having encountered a traffic jam at the Turn 13-14-15 complex on his first push lap, McLaren’s Lando Norris was the shock fastest runner in Q1 after his second effort, setting a 1m 17.821s to pip Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, who was 0.184s slower in P2 on medium tyres.

    Charles Leclerc again demonstrated the pace of Ferrari this weekend by going P3, narrowly ahead of Red Bull’s Verstappen, as the second AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly showed that there was pace in the AT02 by going P5, 0.369s adrift.

    Knocked out: Tsunoda, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Latifi, Mazepin

    Q2 – Verstappen lays down a marker as both Aston Martins drop out

    George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi had never made it into Q2 at Barcelona before this year. But although both would make it to the second segment of qualifying in 2021, Q2 was as far as either driver would go, Williams having opted to burn up all of Russell’s soft tyres in Q1 to help him reach Q2.

    Over at Aston Martin, meanwhile, the time sheets made for unhappy reading in Q2. With both cars using the team’s new update this race, neither driver could progress into Q3, Lance Stroll going 11th fastest and missing out by just 0.008s, as Sebastian Vettel took P13 – while last year as Racing Point, the team had taken fourth and fifth on the grid…

    Gasly continued AlphaTauri’s unfortunate day, taking P12 and failing to make it to Q3 for the first time in seven races, as Giovinazzi and Russell took 14th and 15th.

    At the head of the field, and having bided his time in Q1, Verstappen flashed the speed of his RB16B in Q2, becoming the first driver into the 1m 16s this weekend with a 1m 16.922s, two-tenths ahead of Bottas and Hamilton as Sainz took P4 – while having been sitting in P12 after the first runs, Sergio Perez was up to P5 on his second run to join his team mate in the final qualifying shoot-out.

    All the runners who made it through to Q3 did so on soft tyres, meanwhile, meaning the top 10 will all start on the red-walled tyres on race day.

    Knocked out: Stroll, Gasly, Vettel, Giovinazzi, Russell

    Q3 – Hamilton takes pole #100 by just 0.036s from Verstappen

    Mercedes were on the back foot heading into Q3, with Verstappen having been comfortably ahead in Q2. But if we’ve learned anything from Lewis Hamilton’s 99 pole positions to date, it’s that he should never be ruled out when there’s a sniff of a result on a Saturday.

    Hamilton duly set the pace on his first lap with a 1m 16.741s, with Verstappen just 0.036s off that time in P2, with Bottas a further tenth adrift in third.

    With the seconds counting down in Q3, the drivers headed out for their final laps. Hamilton was up in his first sector, but couldn’t improve in sectors 2 and 3, failing to trump his best effort.

    Verstappen and Bottas looked like the drivers most likely to dethrone Hamilton… but ultimately they too would fall short on their own second laps, as Hamilton claimed a record-stretching 100th pole position, to confirm his position as one of the greatest qualifiers in the history of F1.

    Charles Leclerc did improve, however, jumping from P7 to P4 to push Alpine’s Esteban Ocon down to P5 as Sainz claimed sixth on home turf.

    The Spanish fans actually had two drivers to cheer on in the top 10, Alonso taking 10th, with Ricciardo, Perez and Norris in between in P7, P8 and P9 – an under-the-weather Perez likely to have been disappointed especially, given that he was a full 0.924s off his team mate Verstappen, having spun violently at Turn 13 on his first flying lap.

    But after all that, the plaudits went to Hamilton on a historic day, as he became F1’s first ever pole position centurion.

  2. Pedro de la Rosa knew Lewis Hamilton would be a “problem” after two runs and knew exactly how talented this driver will be in the sport. The Mercedes star has now achieved his 100th career pole position. Motorsport.com provides the story.

    Lewis Hamilton took just two runs of his debut Formula 1 test at Silverstone to show his rivals he was going to be a “massive problem” says former teammate Pedro de la Rosa, who raised the story with Hamilton after he scored his 100th F1 pole position at Barcelona today.

    The British driver was handed his first run in an official test by McLaren in September 2006, just days after his title-winning GP2 Series campaign had finished.

    At the time, McLaren driver de la Rosa had hoped to continue in a race seat for 2007 – and was running at the test alongside Hamilton.

    Reflecting now on the events, de la Rosa said that his views on Hamilton changed totally on the second run that the now six-time champion did.

    “That’s when my mind changed,” said de la Rosa, speaking to F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast. “We had two cars, we were testing there, [and] it was his first ever Formula 1 experience. He did a run, and he was nowhere, you know.

    “I remember looking at his data with Philip Prew, my race engineer back then. We were looking and Philip told me: ‘The boy will need to improve a lot over the years…it’s a long road for Lewis, but he will be good, but we just have to give him time, blah, blah’.

    “And I thought ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’. I did a run, came back, looked at the times and I saw Lewis was fastest.

    “You know, on the second run! And I looked at the data and I said: ‘What happened?’ [They said:] ‘Well we gave him new tires’.

    “So I looked in the data, and he was so fast through Copse, Becketts, Maggots… that then I just realised the potential of Lewis Hamilton. Just looking at the data for a couple of seconds I realised we had a massive problem.”

    De la Rosa said that it soon became clear that Hamilton would be chosen to line up alongside Fernando Alonso in 2007, but he says he felt no bitterness about what happened.

    “It was his first ever F1 test, his second run in Silverstone, and I realized this guy is very, very fast.

    “I’ve seen a lot of drivers in my life. You know, I’ve been with very good drivers, I would say, and I feel very honoured of that. But when I saw Lewis, I thought “wow, this is very special”. And then, when the season was over, I knew that Lewis would be in the race car and I knew that Fernando was signed.

    “And I was happy with that, because I said to myself, if I was in, Ron [Dennis]’s feet, or Martin Whitmarsh’s feet, I would take the same decision, because Lewis is incredibly fast and Fernando as we all know, is mega.”

  3. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas say the risk of losing ground off the line was why Mercedes opted against starting on the mediums for Formula 1’s 2021 Spanish Grand Prix.

    The Black Arrows squad regularly takes the middle compound tyre in qualifying to give it more strategic options in races, where the yellow-walled rubber is also generally more durable compared to the softs the rest of the top 10 runners take to ensure their Q3 places.

    Red Bull usually gives Max Verstappen a similar strategy, but all three frontrunners eschewed that approach in qualifying at Barcelona on Saturday. That means that all 10 of the Q3 runners will be starting the race on the soft compounds, exactly as they did in the 2020 Spanish GP.

    Speaking in the post-qualifying press conference, Bottas explained that the thinking behind Mercedes not taking its typical Q2 tactics was routed in the difficulty of passing at Barcelona and the lack of grip the mediums would provide at the race start compared to the softs.

    “Here, the track position is pretty important, so just didn’t want to lose any ground at the race start – that’s the main thing,” said the Finn.

    Hamilton explained that “It’s 600m down to Turn 1, so six metres difference [in grip of the line] between the tyres, there’s no advantage”.

    He added: “Especially if you do happen to get the medium in position and the car behind is on a soft, for example, and they box – [your team will] pull you in anyway.

    “So then you don’t have the benefit [of the mediums being more durable] and you’ve just given up extra opportunity. So that’s why.”

    Verstappen said that despite the compact pack behind the top three, Red Bull “could have easily qualified on [the mediums]” but felt did not “think it was necessary to do so”.

    Verstappen also explained why he had choose to overtake several cars on his final out-lap in Q3, which he did not feel had any impact in him failing to set a faster time on his final run in qualifying – a development that also happened to Hamilton and Bottas.

    He said: “I just didn’t want to be in the back of the train.

    “Because I saw when I left the garage that there were seven cars in front of me, and I know of course through experience that you go to Turn 10 and suddenly you almost have to stop, so I didn’t want that.

    “So, I just passed them and my tyre temps were still fine when I started my [final] lap. I just didn’t want to get into a mess where people want to overtake you into the last two corners or whatever.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  4. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton feared set-up “gamble” backfired before taking pole position. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton feared his decision to take a “bit of a gamble” on car set-up backfired before scoring his 100th Formula 1 pole position in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying.

    Hamilton was able to edge out Red Bull rival Max Verstappen by 0.036 seconds in Q3 to clinch his second pole position of the season, and continue his perfect record of front row starts this year for Mercedes.

    But the seven-time world champion initially feared that some changes he requested on his car between final practice and qualifying would leave him worse off in the fight for pole.

    “FP3 was looking really good, I think we’ve been strong all weekend,” Hamilton said.

    “I made some changes, and I had a bit of anxiety about the changes that we were potentially going to make for qualifying. We always try to make the car better, but it’s a bit of a gamble because you’ve also got to keep the race in mind also.

    “Anyway, we made the change and as soon as I got out I was like, ‘this is the wrong one’.

    “It was my call in the end, but it was really hard, so that’s why I was behind the whole way through qualifying, and I was making small tweaks here and there to try and elevate pace-wise.

    “But the first lap [in Q3] was the best lap that I got through the whole session, which is great. I tried to improve the next lap, I think I was a tenth-and-a-half up, but then I couldn’t keep it.”

    Hamilton explained that the set-up he opted for left the Mercedes W12 car understeering into corners and feeling “very lazy”.

    “[It] wouldn’t turn around the corner the way that I wanted,” Hamilton said. “So you’re waiting and waiting and waiting.

    “I was making small adjustments to try, within what we are able to change in order to get the car to turn.”

    Neither Hamilton nor Verstappen were able to improve on their final Q3 laps, ensuring the Mercedes driver maintained pole position.

    The result saw Hamilton become the first driver in F1 history to reach 100 pole positions, and is the first driver to reach a triple-figure landmark for poles, fastest laps, or wins.

    “I can’t believe that we’re at 100,” Hamilton said.

    “It is down to the men and women that are back to the factory who are continuously raising the bar and just never giving up, the support that I have.

    “It’s been a dream for me to work with these guys and the journey that we’ve been on, it’s been immense.

    “Who would have thought at the end of 2012 when we made the decision to partner, we would be qualifying at 100?

    “I feel very humble, very grateful. And I’m ecstatic, like it’s my first.”

  5. Even though Max Verstappen missed out on pole in Spain by 0.036s to centurion Lewis Hamilton, the Red Bull driver said he was satisfied by the gap to Mercedes – especially given a tough Q1 session in which he finished fourth.

    Verstappen’s lap of 1m16.777s was a whisker slower than the benchmark Hamilton set to take his 100th Formula 1 pole position, but the Dutchman said he was wrestling with his car early in qualifying. Far from frustrated, he was actually happy to take P2 on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult – and to qualify on this circuit’s front row for the first time in his F1 career.

    He explained: “I struggled a bit into Q1 but then we sorted out the balance for Q2, which was pretty good. Then Q3, for me to be honest, both laps were pretty decent. Only the second lap was a little worse for whatever reason; it’s quite gusty here, so the wind changes a lot.

    “Nevertheless, I think second for us here on this track was very good today. We know they are hard to beat around here, so, to be that close, I can be happy with that.”

    With a 600-metre run down to Turn 1, Verstappen will have to be right on his toes to take the lead off pole-sitter Hamilton, who has won five Grands Prix here since 2014 – and the last four in a row. So does the Red Bull title contender see himself ending the Silver Arrows’ stunning run of form at Barcelona?

    “It is, of course, difficult to predict at the moment,” he said. “I think we were quite decent in the long runs but they also, of course, looked strong. So we know it’s hard to overtake around here and also to be following closely, so we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow.

    “But I’m always optimistic and positive that we can do a good job and have a good race and I hope that it’s going to be as close as today,” he concluded.

    Red Bull are 18 points off Mercedes ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix, but Verstappen is just eight points off championship leader Hamilton as he aims for his second Spanish GP win.

    Source: Formula1.com

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