Notebook – Spanish Qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton has beaten his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by four-hundredths of a second to take pole position for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. The Englishman set his fastest team on the supersoft tyres to improve by just over three tenths.

Pole Lap – L. Hamilton 01:16.173

Lewis Hamilton comes out of Catalyuna goes to the outside of the track getting one side of the car onto the kerb before lining up to run along the outside of the track. Carries the speed all the way down to Turn One, breaks at the 100m board. Turns in hitting the apex of One, setting him up for Two where he takes it around the apex setting himself up for the long Turn Three. Goes to the outside, before breaking into the long Repsol corner.

On exit he goes to the outside of the circuit before crossing to lining himself up for Five, round the apex before going to the outside hitting the kerb as he opens up the car. Speeds through Six, before going to inside approaching TV3. Breaks into the corner, speeds on exit and through eight where he goes to the outside. Slows slightly through Nine, runs to the outside.

Build speed before breaking a 100M before La Casa, turns in before hitting the apex and runs to the inside. Breaks slightly through Eleven and goes to the apex for Twelve, before running along the kerb breaks slightly into Europcar weaves his way down to Fourteen. Hits kerb then on the exit of fifteen opens the car up before going back through Catalyuna and across the line with a 01:16.173

Hamilton’s open-minded approach

Lewis Hamilton says he took an open-minded approach in qualifying to take his first pole position of the season. Hamilton out qualified his teammate Valtteri Bottas by .04 of a second. Barcelona has appeared more favourable to Mercedes than what you might have expected from winter testing.

After three races struggling for one-lap pace, the return to a high-speed circuit with high-energy corners appeared to suit the Mercedes. Hamilton credits his team’s creative approach to problem-solving for his return to the front this weekend. He told ESPN “We really tried to continue to understand and be open-minded, it is easy for us to get stuck in our ways, and we definitely let loose and be open-minded to try to improve which is great. That is what it takes to be a winning team.

“It was a very close qualifying and you could see all weekend that Ferrari were clearly sand-bagging because they knew they had a quick car, but it took everything from us to get this result and to get the 1-2 in qualifying is fantastic for the team.”

Ferrari’s winglets banned

The FIA has banned the winglets which Ferrari placed on the halo for the Monaco Grand Prix. The team insisted that the primary purpose of the winglets is as part of the mounting system for the mirrors, which it has mounted on the halo for the first time this weekend, after the FIA gave permission in a recent technical directive.

However, questions about the legality of the design, Ferrari has been informed that the design is illegal. However the team have been allowed to leave them in place for the rest of the weekend.

Alonso happy with progress

Fernando Alonso says he is happy with the progress which McLaren has made with the car, after he made it into Q3 and qualified eighth for his home race. The team has brought their first major upgrades of the season for this weekends race.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the Spaniard said “I’m happy with that. P8 is a good position, I’ve been P13 the last three qualifying sessions. We definitely made a step forward at this race.”

“Everything that we bring to the track is delivering the expectations and the lap times that we were expecting from them. That is a positive thing, the correlation with the factory. We just need more new parts and as soon as possible.”

Alonso was just four hundredths of a second of seventh place but has called on McLaren to push the teams development program to close the gap further to the top three teams.

Hartley’s biggest crash

Brendon Hartley was unable to take part in qualifying after crashing and wrecking his Toro Rosso in FP3. The Toro Rosso driver spun backwards into the barriers at the high-speed Turn Nine after putting a wheel on the grass on the outside before turning into the corner.

The impact with the wall saw heavy damage to his car, the cause he believes was going just a few centremetres off his normal line. As well as a dip in the surface the other side of the kerb that pitched his car into a spin.

Race Prixview

Tomorrows race could again be a battle between Mercedes and Ferrari. However overtaking in Barcelona can be more difficult and if Hamilton can break the tow that could be key. Mercedes have won this race since 2014 (with the exception of the 2016 crash) and have been much stronger than we expected this weekend



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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