SPANISH GP – Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas by five-hundredths to take pole

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has beaten his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by five-hundredths of a second to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix. The six-times world champion looked unstoppable as he claimed his fourth pole position of the season as the German manufacturer lead by seven-tenths of a second.

Mercedes have appeared to have got on top of those cooling issues which affected them last weekend, allowing them to go seven-tenths ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Mercedes have looked very strong in Barcelona dating back to testing in February, putting themselves in front with the Englishman fastest in each session.

Both drivers have looked evenly matched throughout the weekend, and appeared to continue into qualifying, Bottas was the faster of the two in Sectors One and Two, but Hamilton pulled it back by going faster in the final sector.

Verstappen will start third, but the challenge he could face in the race is staying with the Mercedes. Both Hamilton and Bottas couldn’t improve on their second run in Q3, but it was enough to allow them to remain ahead of the Red Bull by some margin.

Hamilton said, “The first lap was decent, which did the job thankfully. I was here with the guys until 10pm last night just looking through the details, and seeing where we can get better for the race. These Red Bulls are super fast.”

Verstappen added, “It’s the maximum we can do at the moment. I just hope we can be a bit closer in the race. In the long runs, we didn’t look so bad. I know it’s very hard to overtake around here but we’re going to do everything we can to be close to them and make it difficult”

Sergio Perez returned to qualifying for the first time since Budapest after testing positive for Coronavirus, going fourth fastest just over a tenth faster than teammate Lance Stroll.

Perez was pushed down following Verstappen’s final run that was despite the Mexican setting personal best laps. Racing Point’s managing to spilt the Red Bull’s with Alex Albon sixth, four-tenths behind teammate Verstappen.

McLaren was again best of the rest, Carlos Sainz starting his final Spanish Grand Prix for the team, in seventh after going four hundredths faster than his teammate Lando Norris. Charles Leclerc was the only Ferrari through to Q3 but was a second and a half off in ninth ahead of the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly.

Gasly improved on his final run in Q2 just scraping through after a late improvement at the end of the session to knock Sebastian Vettel out. Vettel again appearing to still be struggling with the car, despite Ferrari fitting a new chassis he remained eight hundredths behind teammate Leclerc.

Vettel explaining that the Ferrari started to get nervous in the middle sector as he struggled with the balance of the car. He missed out on Q2 by just two-thousandths of a second, with Norris hanging on to tenth.

Vettel splits the Alpha Tauri’s with Daniil Kvyat twelfth but under investigation for an incident with Kevin Magnussen at the second corner in Q1, took thirteenth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Kimi Raikkonen made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, he spilt the Renaults in fourteenth.

The Finn made it out of Q1 on his final lap, but that pushed both Haas’s out. Haas had looked strong and in a position through practice where they were running in the top ten, but that failed to turn into pace in qualifying.

Romain Grosjean who was the faster of the two, finish eight hundredths behind teammate Kevin Magnussen. George Russell maintained his 100% record of out-qualifying his teammate, going four-tenths ahead of Nicolas Latifi while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi was twentieth.

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