Hamilton to head Mercedes front row in Spain

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Lewis Hamilton proved the fastest man of qualifying today for the Spanish Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas was an extremely close second to make it a perfect session for Mercedes. Both Ferrari drivers will start from the second row.

The first runs in Q1 predictably saw most teams run the super soft tyres. McLaren though opted to send out their drivers for the first runs on medium tyres while Force India sent its cars out on softs. All four cars however later rejoined the track on super soft, even though for Alonso that wasn't strictly necessary as he had been fast enough in his first run to make it through.

Among the top, Vettel was fastest in the early stages, topping Verstappen, Raikkonen and Ricciardo. The two Mercedes were 5th and 6th fastest.

As the session drew to a close, both Force India drivers just made it through, along with Vandoorne who improved just before Stroll ended up in the gravel trap to end Q1 early. This leaves Williams in 18th and 19th position, ahead only of Hartley who did not set a time as mechanics were still working on his Toro Rosso to repair damage incurred in a crash late in FP3.

Q2 was kicked off by both Haas cars, followed by Hamilton and Bottas. The others weren't waiting much and soon the track was again flourishing with action.

Yet again, it was Ferrari that turned out quickest, this time ahead of Mercedes. Verstappen ended up 5th fastest, ahead of Magnussen, Ricciardo and Grosjean. The only two positions in danger of progressing through were 9th and 10th, but there were not enough improvements at the end of the session, making Sainz and Alonso being those that qualified for the top 10 shoot-out.

There, Ricciardo was the first man out on track, going quick, but still beaten by Verstappen by 0.042s and Hamilton by 3 tenths. Bottas ended up behind the Red Bulls after his first run, with both Ferrari disappointing to 5th and 7th. Thanks to an error by Raikkonen, this enabled Alonso to position himself in 6th, 1.5s down on the pace setting Mercedes.

While everybody sat in their cockpits to prepare for a final run on super softs, Ricciardo exited early and on soft tyres. Raikkonen and Vettel curiously opted for the same soft tyres a bit later when all others also went out.

Raikkonen became the first to complete a quick lap, properly erasing his earlier mistake and moving up into second. He later dropped back to 4th after Bottas improved into second and Vettel to third.

Home racer Alonso dropped to 8th as Magnussen eventually got the better of him. Sainz, the second Spanish home racer is set to start from 9th on the grid.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:17.6331:17.1661:16.17317
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:17.6741:17.1111:16.21314
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1:17.0311:16.8021:16.30516
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:17.4831:17.0711:16.61215
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:17.4111:17.2661:16.81615
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:17.6231:17.6381:16.81819
720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:18.1691:17.6181:17.67627
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault1:18.2761:18.1001:17.72121
955Carlos SainzRenault1:18.4801:17.8031:17.79019
108Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:18.3051:17.6991:17.83526
112Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:18.8851:18.323-18
1210Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:18.5501:18.463-16
1331Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:18.8131:18.696-18
1416Charles LeclercSauber Ferrari1:18.6611:18.910-15
1511Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:18.7401:19.098-18
1627Nico HulkenbergRenault1:18.923--6
179Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:19.493--9
1835Sergey SirotkinWilliams Mercedes1:19.695--10
1918Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:20.225--9

Note - Sirotkin penalised three grid places for causing a collision at the previous round. Hartley failed to meet 107% Q1 requirement - races at stewards' discretion.