Leclerc recovers from spin to take Spanish Grand Prix pole

Big pressure was on the championship leader Charles Leclerc, when he spun on his first Q3 run at the chicane. The Ferrari driver was on the back foot without setting a lap time, but recovered to take an impressive pole position for Formula 1’s 2022 Spanish Grand Prix as Max Verstappen was hurt by a final-lap DRS issue.

The Ferrari driver had it all to do in the last part of qualifying after spinning at the penultimate corner during his banker lap in Q3 but then the points leader produced a magic lap on his second attempt.

A run to one minute, 18.750 seconds marked comfortably the fastest lap of the weekend as he seized his 13th Formula 1 pole position by three tenths over his title rival Verstappen.

The defending world champion, who held provisional pole after his first Q3 effort, was forced to abort his final flying lap after his Red Bull endured yet more unreliability.

Comfortable Q2 pacesetter Verstappen had not long delivered a crushing run through the final sector to extract a four tenth advantage on his first flying lap in the final part of qualifying to post a one minute, 19.073 seconds.

That threw him to the top of the timing screens as he ran a mighty 0.35 seconds ahead of provisional pacesetter Sainz, while Perez clocked third ahead of the Mercedes pair.

Leclerc was the major name missing from the top of the times after he threw away his first Q3 lap with a Turn 14 spin despite setting five session-best mini-sectors over the lap.

The rear axle of the Ferrari rotated into the left-handed part of the tight chicane when, like in Imola, he grabbed too much kerb. He then locked all four tyres bringing the car to a stop.

Leclerc was equipped with a fresh set of soft tyres and headed out comparatively early for the qualifying climax, leaving his garage with three and a half minutes left to play.

But he stitched together the fastest second and third sector to romp to pole.

After the DRS issue, Verstappen was able to record another front row slot ahead of Sainz, who fell a tenth adrift with his one minute, 19.166 seconds.

George Russell led the renewed effort from Mercedes with fourth position as he nipped ahead of Sergio Perez, while Lewis Hamilton ran to sixth after his first Q3 lap was hurt by oversteer out of the final corner.

Valtteri Bottas snared seventh for Alfa Romeo ahead of Kevin Magnussen, while Daniel Ricciardo was resigned to ninth after McLaren elected not to send him out for a second Q3 charge.

Mick Schumacher, meanwhile, completed the top ten. This was Mick’s first appearance in Q3 and the Haas driver will start in his best grid position.

Lando Norris failed to progress into the top ten by 0.035 seconds when the stewards deleted his final flying lap in the 15-minute session for marginally exceeding track limits at Turn 12.

The McLaren driver, who also clipped the Turn 14 bollard, had just prevented Mick Schumacher from squeezing into Q3 before his lap was binned and he was relegated.

Esteban Ocon aborted his second effort in Q2 to tether himself to P12, while Yuki Tsunoda nipped ahead of AlphaTauri teammate Pierre Gasly.

The French racer had struggled with Turn 5 understeer on his final run, having sat out almost all of FP3 owing to a fire igniting on his installation lap.

Alfa Romeo rookie Guanyu Zhou rounded out the top 15.

World champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were the major scalps to be claimed in the first part of qualifying as they were shuffled into the bottom five places.

Alpine driver Alonso, preparing for his home race, was forced to back out of his final flying lap thanks in part to early traffic from Norris, however the stewards did not to intervene. That left Alonso prey as the customary flurry of improved times landed late on.

The better laps from Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo secured their progression and subsequently dropped Vettel and Alonso to a final P16 and P17 on the leader board.

Vettel, having missed the Q2 cut-off by 0.07 seconds, did at least manage to out-qualify teammate Lance Stroll as the Canadian guided the heavily scrutinised and updated AMR22 to just P18.

Alex Albon pipped Williams stablemate Nicholas Latifi to round out the final row of the grid.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in rising to the challenge despite big pressure to set a lap time after spinning. The Ferrari driver did the job by securing pole position. Kudos Charles!

Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18.750
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:19.073
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:19.166
4 George Russell Mercedes 1:19.393
5 Sergio Peérez Red Bull 1:19.420
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.512
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:19.608
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:19.682
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:20.297
10 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:20.368
11 Lando Norris McLaren 1:20.471
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:20.638
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:20.639
14 Pierre Gasly AlphaTaur 1:20.861
15 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:21.094
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:20.954
17 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:21.043
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:21.418
19 Alexander Albon Williams 1:21.645
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:21.915

4 thoughts to “Leclerc recovers from spin to take Spanish Grand Prix pole”

  1. ‘I’m not lacking a lot’ – Sainz unconcerned by qualifying deficit to Leclerc so far in 2022. provides the story.

    Carlos Sainz has been outqualified by his Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc in all five races so far in 2022. But speaking ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session at his home race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Sainz said he wasn’t overly concerned about his qualifying performances, while admitting his record this season is not “great”.

    Sainz has qualified in the top three on three occasions this season, including a season’s-best P2 last time out in Miami. However, he suffered from misfortune in Australia during qualifying, when he left the pit lane late due to an issue with the car, leaving him in P9, before he crashed in qualifying at Imola, leaving him in P10 (although he did start the race in P4 after making up places in the Sprint).

    Leclerc on the other hand has been a model of consistency, qualifiying in the top two in all five races, including three pole positions this season. But Sainz believes it is only a matter of time before he outqualifies not only his team mate but the entire field.

    “Well, I mean the target is not to only outqualify Charles but to outqualify everyone with a competitive car,” said Sainz. “But so far this season it’s not a secret that he’s found his groove very quickly with this new car and I’m struggling to get on top of it. Even if I’m struggling, I am a tenth off in pretty much every qualifying, so it’s not like I’m miles away.

    “I feel like I’m within reach, that it could change any weekend, as soon as I figure a bit my head around the exact way that I need to drive the car and the exact way that I need to set it up for my liking. So, the record might not be great and I might not be particularly proud about it but… the last few qualifyings, I have been fighting for pole position so it’s not that I am lacking a lot.”

    Sainz – who was born in Madrid – along with Fernando Alonso will be racing in front of his adoring home fans this weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix. And the nine-time podium finisher spoke of his excitement at how the sport has grown in Spain.

    “It’s been amazing. I mean it’s a full crowd, we are expecting 300,000 people across the whole weekend, 100,000 on Sunday,” said Sainz. “It’s the first time in many years that it’s full.

    “My home grandstand was sold out in a matter of two hours, so there is a big hype around the city, the Grand Prix. I think Formula one is growing everywhere, and Spain is a part of that.”

  2. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc commented that the Scuderia still needs to get on top of tyres to win Spanish Grand Prix. has the details.

    Charles Leclerc thinks his pole position for Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix will count for little if his Ferrari team does not get on top of its recent tyre degradation struggles.

    The Monegasque driver bounced back from a spin in his first run in Q3 to snatch first place on the grid in Barcelona from title rival Max Verstappen with a brilliant late effort.

    His pole spot was then sealed when Verstappen was unable to respond on his second Q3 run after being slowed by a DRS problem.

    But while Leclerc was delighted with his latest pole, he is well aware that in recent events he has lost the lead after his Ferrari has encountered worse tyre degradation than the Red Bulls.

    With temperatures expected to be high for Sunday’s race at Barcelona, and tyres likely to face a battering, he is aware that Ferrari needs to better manage the situation than it has recently.

    “I am in a strong position to start the race, but we’ve been struggling with tyres in the last few races compared to Red Bull,” he explained.

    “Max is just behind and if we don’t manage those tyres well we will lose that. So we need to get on top of it and do a good job tomorrow with tyre management.”

    But while the Red Bull has been better on its tyres at the last few grands prix, Verstappen was not taking it for granted that Leclerc would suffer again.

    The Dutchman said: “The last few races we seemed pretty decent on the tyres. Of course tomorrow will be very hot, very warm, and this track will be quite tough to pass. But let’s see.

    “Hopefully, of course, our car will be again a bit kinder on the tyres but it’s a bit difficult to tell at the moment.”

    Leclerc’s pole position lap came amid intense pressure, with the chicane spin on his first run leaving him down in 10th spot and at risk of being stuck in the pack if he did not pull off a late lap.

    But, having delivered a sensational lap, Leclerc praised Ferrari for giving him an ‘amazing’ car thanks to upgrades it has brought to the Spanish Grand Prix.

    “It was a very, very difficult session,” he said. “I mean, especially in Q3 because I did a mistake in the first run of Q3. Then obviously I only had one lap but it went extremely well.

    “I had a bit of moments on my lap, but at the end I made it stick and I am very, very happy with pole position. It was a very good lap and the car was amazing too, so we very happy.”

  3. DRS issue behind Max Verstappen’s Spain Q3 slow-down. provides the news story.

    Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner says a DRS problem caused Max Verstappen to abort his final Spanish GP Q3 run, but doesn’t believe he would have been able to hold off pole-sitter Charles Leclerc.

    After Leclerc spun out in the chicane on his first timed lap in Q3, the Ferrari driver dug deep to deliver a stunning second lap to demote Verstappen.

    Verstappen saw his chance to retaliate evaporate when he reported a loss of power in sector one but, according to team principal Horner, a DRS problem was the cause of the Dutchman’s loss of speed.

    “It wasn’t actually power. In the end, it was a DRS that didn’t open,” Horner explained to Sky Sports.

    “So obviously we need to get the car back to understand what’s caused, because it opened on the back straight just as a check as it came back into the pits.”

    While Leclerc and Verstappen had looked evenly matched until Red Bull’s issue robbed fans of a fair showdown, Horner doesn’t think his driver would have had enough to beat Ferrari’s championship leader on his final lap.

    “I don’t think we had enough today to beat that lap of Charles. A great lap by him under pressure at the end there.

    “But yeah, I’m still pleased with the front row start,” he said, acknowledging that Ferrari’s raft of upgrades for Barcelona had given it an advantage.

    Verstappen’s DRS problem is not the first gremlin to have struck Red Bull this season, but Horner doesn’t feel there is cause for alarm.

    “You know, these things are tending to happen,” he added. “We saw Ferrari change the chassis last night because of a fuel system issue.

    “Unfortunately, it’s hit us at inconvenient times, the last time you want it is on the last run in Q3. But as a team we work hard, we are trying to understand what the issue is. It may be as simple as a piece of rubber’s got stuck in the mechanism.

    “It was unfortunate not to have the right to reply there because I don’t think we’d have beaten Charles today, but I think we would have been closer than the times suggest.”

  4. Qualifying review as reported by

    Charles Leclerc proved he could handle the heat by overcoming a spin to take pole position for the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix, as a compromised Max Verstappen lost out his own shot at pole.

    After Leclerc topped Q1, Verstappen hit back with the fastest time of Q2 – with Mercedes lurking just behind the Ferrari and Red Bull throughout the first two qualifying segments. Leclerc then dramatically spun on his first run in Q3, leaving Verstappen top.

    But the championship leader re-emerged to go top with a time of 1m 18.750s, Verstappen storming towards his pole time – before his Red Bull appeared to suffer an issue. The reigning champion lost out by an eventual 0.323s – local hero Carlos Sainz another tenth off in third.

    George Russell smashed his first sector to pip Sergio Perez to P4, the Mexican rounding out the top five ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes.

    Valtteri Bottas showed strong pace throughout and finished seventh while Kevin Magnussen took eighth – his 10th-placed team mate Mick Schumacher making it to Q3 for the first time – with Daniel Ricciardo in P9 for McLaren between the Haas pair.

    Lando Norris had his Q2 lap time deleted for a Turn 12 track limit infringement and ended up 11th, followed by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and then the AlphaTauris of Yuki Tsunoda and a despondent Pierre Gasly in P13 and P14, respectively. Zhou Guanyu was off the pace in Q2 and could only qualify P15 for Alfa Romeo.

    In their heavily upgraded Aston Martins, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll qualified 16th and 18th, respectively – Vettel having missed out on Q2 by under a tenth.

    Between them was Alpine’s home hero Fernando Alonso, the two-time champion a surprise exclusion for Q2 in P17. Williams rounded out the provisional qualifying standings: Alex Albon P19 and Nicholas Latifi P20.

    Q1 – Ferrari charge into the lead while Alonso endures shock elimination

    Conditions were stiflingly hot for qualifying, the sun unrelenting in Spain. Red Bull set their flying efforts first but, Charles Leclerc set the early benchmark with a time of 1m 19.861s – team mate Carlos Sainz just 0.031s back – to drop Max Verstappen to third. Behind Red Bull’s Verstappen, by a tenth, was Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton P5 after their opening laps.

    After the first runs, the Williams drivers, Haas’s Mick Schumacher, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll were in the drop zone – Daniel Ricciardo sitting on the cusp of elimination in P15 for McLaren.

    Improvements across the board dropped Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel down to P16 – losing out on 15th-place Esteban Ocon by 0.074s, while Fernando Alonso was a surprising P17 at home, 0.163s off safety in his Alpine, having struggled with traffic as he went to open his final lap. Lance Stroll was half a second off his team mate in P18 – leaving Williams’ Alex Albon 19th and his team mate Nicholas Latifi two-tenths back in P20.

    Among those that improved were Kevin Magnussen, splitting the Mercedes in his un-upgraded Haas for P5, while Valtteri Bottas dropped to seventh for Alfa Romeo and Sergio Perez could only manage P8 having had a trip through the Turn 7 gravel. Bottas’s team mate Zhou Guanyu took a solid P9, leaving Daniel Ricciardo 10th.

    Schumacher also fought his way out of the drop zone to P11 for Haas – a new gearbox fitted after his fiery FP3 stoppage – while Yuki Tsunoda took 12th and Gasly jumped to P13 for AlphaTauri. Lando Norris managed to stay afloat in P14 after a narrow miss with Stroll in the pits, while Ocon rounded out the top 15 for Alpine.

    Knocked out: Vettel, Alonso, Stroll, Albon, Latifi

    Q2 – Verstappen turns up the wick while Norris loses out

    Mercedes set the first laps in Q2, Hamilton squirreling through Sector 3 with Russell beating him by three-tenths. Yet, the Silver Arrows led the field ahead of Perez – the Mexican having been equipped new softs to go third while Leclerc, Sainz and Verstappen used old tyres to go fourth, sixth and seventh respectively.

    With Norris rounding out the top 10, team mate Ricciardo was in danger of dropping out, followed by Ocon, Zhou, and the AlphaTauris. The pack would surely shuffle again…

    Mercedes saved a set of tyres with both drivers staying in the garage, Verstappen emerging again to set the fastest time of 1m 19.219s and Sainz going second by 0.234s to leave the Mercedes in third and fourth.

    Magnussen rounded out the top five for Haas, Perez dropping down to sixth ahead of Leclerc (both also saving a set of softs) while Ricciardo improved to ninth. And it was Schumacher who rounded out the top 10 for a first career Q3 appearance.

    Norris had his lap time deleted for going wide at Turn 12 and ended up 11th – 0.035s off safety – while Ocon could only manage P12. Tsunoda and Gasly were eliminated in P13 and P14 respectively, the Frenchman getting an apology from his engineer, with Zhou rounding out the Q2 standings with a 0.658s deficit to P10.

    Knocked out: Norris, Ocon, Tsunoda, Gasly, Zhou

    Q3 – Leclerc shrugs off spin before DRS glitch foils Verstappen

    Opening laps saw Verstappen go fastest with a time of 1m 19.073s, Sainz almost 0.4s back in second, while Perez was just behind in third. As for Leclerc, he spun exiting Turn 14 and aborted his opening lap, leaving Mercedes’ Russell fourth and Hamilton fifth (having run just wide at Turns 10-11) with the time ticking away.

    The pressure was on the championship leader, Leclerc going out earliest to set a time of 1m 18.750s for provisional pole. Verstappen was rounding the track, bearing down on his rival, but then came a message of despair: the Dutchman complained of a loss of power. Pole was Leclerc’s by 0.323s.

    Horner later said that a DRS issue cost his world champion on Saturday in Spain.

    With Verstappen settling for P2, Sainz rounded out the provisional top three. Russell’s rapid first sector earned him P4 – just 0.027s ahead of fifth-place Perez – while Hamilton took P6 on the grid.

    Bottas was under a tenth away from his former team mate in P7 for Alfa Romeo, Magnussen just behind the Finnish driver as he clinched P8 for Haas despite a DRS issue. With Schumacher rounding out the top 10 in his Haas, Ricciardo qualified ninth for McLaren.

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