Lewis Hamilton has beaten Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver was less than a tenth of a second faster than Vettel, allowing him to the pole.
Hamilton was clearly ahead in both Q1 and Q2, but in the final part of the session, the Brit came under pressure from Vettel right at the end of the session. That was a remarkable recovery from the four times champion after issues in Q1.
Vettel and Valtteri Bottas who starts third, both had a busy lunch break as the teams changed their engines ahead of qualifying. Vettel may have gone faster but on his final run in Q3 he locked up into the final chicane. With the German ending the session half a tenth down.
Bottas himself also had a mistake at the final chicane and says his performance in the session was “not good enough”, but he did manage to get ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen also had his own mistake, he had oversteer in turn twelve, after losing time in the second sector.
Hamilton said “Amazing job by the team and super proud we can have a better weekend. The first lap of Q3 was really good, the second was so-so. It’s always a morale boost when you come and see support.”
Vettel added “A tiny lockup was the difference. I’ve been coming here so many times and still, the last chicane is tricky for me. It was really close. A busy morning and a big thank you to the team.”
Max Verstappen out-qualified his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo with the team’s aerodynamic upgrade proving they are closing the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.
Verstappen was only half a second adrift of pole in fifth, the smallest gap to the front so far this season. Throughout the weekend the Dutchman has proved himself to be quicker than Ricciardo on track.
Williams Felipe Massa split the Force India’s of Sergio Perez in eighth and Esteban Ocon in tenth. But, the Frenchman believes that he lost two-tenths because his DRS failed to engage.
After a difficult start to the season and to his home race, Fernando Alonso got his McLaren into Q3 for the first time this season. The Spaniard just made it through to Q3, after Carlos Sainz couldn’t find enough to get him into the final part of qualifying.
However, Sainz says he was pleased with his performance in that session.
Also not making it through was Haas’s Kevin Magnussen missed out by less than a tenth, while team-mate Romain Grosjean was another driver who lost out at turn thirteen.
It was again another close fight in the midfield, with Pascal Wehrlein edging out his Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson by just 0.005s. The top fourteen cars covered by less than a second.
While their team-mates performed well Stoffel Vandoorne, Jolyon Palmer, Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat all struggled to get out of Q1. For Vandoorne it has been a tough start to his debut season, he has failed to get out of the first part all season long.