NOTEBOOK – Spanish Quaiflying

Features Notebook

Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to take pole by less than a tenth of a second for this weekend Spanish Grand Prix. The fact that Vettel was able to be fighting at the front was a miracle as he had technical issues in Q1.

Pole lap Hamilton 01:19.149

Lewis Hamilton comes out of the final corner and goes to the outside, gets up to 323kph before break at the 100m board for turn one. he crosses the track driving through the centre of the corner before running to the outside at turn two. Runs to the inside before hugging the apex and then running to the outside, he stays there.

He breaks on exit before opening the car through the exit and heads down the hill, then across the track before breaking for five. Through the centre, before running along the kerb and keeps momentum through six. Breaks as he enters seven, before running through the corner building speed. He keeps that speed for nine when he runs to the outside.

He builds speed as he enters the tricky slow final sector, breaking a 100m before turn ten. Goes through the centre of the corner, then runs to the inside takes bit of kerb. He then launches himself into eleven before running around the apex of twelve. Runs to the outside breaks before turn thirteen down into fourteen. Hits kerbs at fourteen and fifteen, heads along the outside kerb. before going to the apex of sixteen, runs to the outside, stays there and across the line with 01:19.149.

Vettel

After FP3, Sebastian Vettel even making qualifying was an achievement for Ferrari. The team managed to carry out an whole engine change in-between the sessions. There was that scare early on in Q1, he was told to stop on track but got back to the pits.

Vettel went on to only miss out on pole by .05 of a second off Hamilton. He said “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.”

“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.”

Ferrari can be impressed by the way they turned that around in such a short space of time and Vettel could have had a mental block following that issue. I feel Ferrari are in a much better place this season, mentally as this could of hindered his session.

The flying Finn’s

Valtteri Bottas qualified third ahead of his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen. Both of them believe they had problems in that session, Bottas has admitted his performance in the session was “not good enough”.

Bottas also lost out in sector three while Raikkonen had a bit of oversteer at twelve and lost time in that last sector. The last sector is proving to be giving many drivers headaches thus weekend, I have heard reports that the way the wind is blowing in that last part of the circuit is affecting the way the cars are performing.

Raikkonen told Motorsport.com “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 lap time there. Without those [mistakes] there was, for sure, enough lap time to challenge for the first place. It’s a bit disappointing to make a mess out of it but we’ll try tomorrow.”

Wind blows of Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg has said that he thinks Renault didn’t get into Q3 was because of the wind. He told Motorsport.com “It was not as successful as we hoped for and, to some extent, what we expected. We went slower. We didn’t change the car much, so it must be to do with the conditions.”

Alonso attack

Fernando Alonso qualified in the top ten for the first time this year, but he still has said that Honda lacks the horsepower to fight at the front.

Alonso was seventh fastest and 1.8 seconds off the pace of Hamilton in Q3. But he still believes another major step is needed from Honda to have any chance of fighting at the front.

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

Tomorrow he will want to be able to move forward and take his first points of the season. That could be helped and hindered by the fact that overtaking is tough here, but the McLaren is easier to overtake because of the power deficit.

Step forward for Red Bull

Max Verstappen qualified fifth and was only .5 of a second off the pace of Hamilton’s pole time. That gap has narrowed compared to what it was in Sochi a fortnight ago.

Verstappen said “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. 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.”

Race Preview

Tomorrow’s race will again be a battle between the Mercedes and Ferrari. Both are very evenly matched on the single lap and long run pace this weekend. There will be a fight and I feel it could be about who get the better start.

Overtaking is more difficult and this weekend I feel it will be Sebastian Vettel who will win.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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