Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, his first pole on Circuit de Catalunya. Nico Rosberg completed a Mercedes front row lockout with Daniel Ricciardo qualifying third, a full second off of Hamilton.
Qualifying kicked off with Esteban Gutierrez setting the first time, completing lap around Circuit de Catalunya in 1:29.257. He is quickly followed by his teammate and both Sahara Force India cars. Temperatures at the start of the session were 26°C ambient and 42°C on track, 15 higher than in FP3.
With just those 4 times on the sheet though, Maldonado decided to shake things up a bit, ending up in the wall on the inside of turn 3. He went through the run-off area on the outside of the turn, and unwilling to back off ended up with oversteer, crossed the track and broke the nose and front right suspension against the wall. The event triggered a red flag with little more than 13 minutes left in the session.
When the car was cleared, the session restarted with literally every driver going on in the first minute following the green light.
4 minutes later, everybody is on the timetable with Rosberg ahead. Lewis Hamilton aborted his first flying lap due to a mistake in turn 5, narrowly missing the tyre barrier. His second attempt proved more successful but still half a second off of his team mate. Vettel is another 7 tenths down and third fastest, ahead of Masa, Kvyat, Bottas, Alonso, Gutierrez, Vergne and Raikkonen.
Ricciardo moved up into 4th a bit later on, still running on the harder tyre while most others targeted runs on the medium compound to improve their times. Button and Raikkonen were notably in the danger zone and only just managed to secure a place in Q2 thanks to a run on the mediums as the chequered flag was already waving.
Eliminated is Adrian Sutil who continued to complain about his car, similarly to FP3. Chilton is 18th, ahead of Bianchi, Ericsson, Kobayashi and of course Maldonado.
Q2 remains quiet for 5 minutes before anyone makes an attempt to post a lap. Force India is the first to send its cars out but is then soon followed by Raikkonen, the Williams cars and the Mercedes AMG drivers. All of which are out on the medium tyres. Only Button completed a lap in Q2 on the harder tyres and after his first lap ended up in 12th, not enough to progress to Q3.
While Mercedes and Red Bull decide not to run again in Q2, Kevin Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne step out of their cars without having set a time in Q2. For Magnussen it's a power unit issue that halted his progress. He faces a start from 15th on tomorrow's grid while Vergne's 10-place grid penalty for an unsafe release during FP2 will put him at the very back to start the Spanish Grand Prix.
One minute from the end, Massa improves and goes 4th fastest, 4 tenths slower than Ricciardo but narrowly quicker than Vettel. Bottas improved too but only into 8th. Button on the closing seconds also improved to 9th while Alonso is lucky to go through in 10th, despite no improvement on his second flying lap in Q2.
Eliminated is Hulkenberg, along with Perez, Kvyat, Gutierrez, Magnussen and Vergne.
Q3 kicks off with Rosberg going out on track following 2 minutes of silence. Hamilton soon followed suit, along with Valtteri Bottas.
Little more than a minute later, just when Rosberg started his flying lap, Vettel stopped in turn 3, reporting he lost driver. The event triggered another red flag to enable the marshalls to safely remove the car from the track.
2 minutes later, the session restarted with 8:02 left on the clock. Rosberg was queuing already at the end of the pitlane while Lewis Hamilton soon left his pitbox as well.
Hamilton proved fastest in the first string of laps, ahead of Rosberg, Ricciardo and Alonso. Everybody else waited for the final minutes to do just a single lap.
At the chequered flag, Hamilton improved once again and kept hold of pole, nearly 2 tenths faster than Rosberg. Ricciardo qualified third, a second off the pole sitter with Bottas stunning to 4th, ahead of Grosjean and the Ferrari duo.
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:28.053||1:26.613||1:26.285||16|
|10||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:27.958||1:27.052||-||11|
|11||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:28.155||1:27.685||-||13|
|12||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:28.469||1:28.002||-||16|
|22||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||No time||-||-||2|