Following another Mercedes one-two in today’s qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, it seems as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have received a subscription for the front row for the 2020 Formula 1 season.
In the first six qualifying sessions, Mercedes has showed a truly dominant performance, outqualifying their closest rivals by around a second on every single occasion. It seems that the picture will not change in the foreseeable future with the W11 delivering a superior outright performance.
Max Verstappen put in another excellent effort to secure third place that is his best starting position at Barcelona. The Mercedes-inspired Racing Point cars will line up fourth and fifth on the grid. Ferrari dropped back in qualifying after a promising Friday.
"I was pretty pleased with the qualifying session, as we were a long way off our competitors in Free Practice. I was happy with our performance step but nevertheless, we need to understand where our Saturday pace has gone. With these hot track conditions we are struggling to get the tyres in the right window. It’s a bit strange as on paper, this circuit should suit us better than the last two weekends at Silverstone. We need to look deep into it, understand where our good pace has gone, and rectify it."Nicholas Latifi
"We closed the gap from yesterday after making some sizeable changes, but clearly it still wasn’t enough. On my final lap, there was probably another two-and-a-half tenths to find, but it obviously wouldn’t have changed my position. We didn’t have the potential to get into Q2 as we have shown at previous races with the hot track conditions not suiting our car as much. We now have to focus on the race tomorrow to see what we can salvage."
Red BullMax Verstappen
“I think we did a good job in qualifying, extracting everything we could from the car. We know that over one lap we struggle a bit compared to Mercedes but on the long runs it is all closer and we can extract a bit more from our car. It seems like I have a subscription to P3 at the moment as I have been there for the whole weekend but we will try to improve on that tomorrow! I felt very happy on the long runs yesterday, with the balance of the car and the wear of the tyres so I hope that will be the same for tomorrow when it will still be warm but not as warm as today. We will try to stay as close to Mercedes as possible, put pressure on them and hopefully we can have a good fight. I am confident that we can do a good job. It will be hard to beat Mercedes as they still look very fast but we don’t give up.”Alex Albon
“I’m not entirely happy with my qualifying as I wanted more but we can have a good race from P6 and it was an improvement over the last two weekends. Overtaking at this track is very difficult so it was important to qualify further up the field but there’s still work to do and I still need to find some more pace on Saturdays. The car felt a bit edgy throughout the session and I actually felt better on used tyres during my first Q3 run compared with the second run, so we’ll need to look at that and understand why. Hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow and with the challenge here being overtaking we will also need to use strategy. This weekend there has been a lot of talk about tyre degradation so hopefully we can look after our tyres and bring home some good points for the team.”
Racing PointSergio Perez
“That was a challenging qualifying, but I’m really happy with P4. It was extremely hot out there and there were changes in wind direction in the final sector throughout the session. We had to be very careful preparing the tyres on the out lap, not pushing too hard because the track was so hot. It was also a physical challenge having missed the last two weekends. The key tomorrow will be getting a strong start, so that we have the track position to make our strategy work. Overtaking will be difficult and tyre management will be a real challenge. I’m very pleased that – once again – we’ve been able to show the strengths of the car in different conditions and on a different circuit.”Lance Stroll
“That was a hot one! Canadians aren’t made for this heat. I prefer the snow! I’m really happy for the team: P4 and P5 is a great result. It was challenging out there with the heat and the strong wind into the final sector. My Q3 lap was good, although I think I lost a tenth into Turn 10 – but I gave it everything and the car was strong today. It’s clear that tyre management will be very important in the race, but it’s also difficult to overtake here. We’re definitely in a great position to fight for good points tomorrow.”
“A positive Saturday for the team. I was happy with the car balance and could push the car to the limit, especially in Sectors One and Two. Yesterday we decided to change my engine and that seems to have solved the issues from last weekend, so also happy on that side.
“The lap wasn’t perfect though. I lost a bit in Sector Three compared to my best time in that same sector and maybe that would’ve put us P6 in front of Albon – but in general it was a strong quali. I was feeling good in the first part of the lap, and we’ll keep investigating the last sector because I wasn’t happy with the rear end. So, let’s see what we can do to improve for tomorrow – but overall a more positive day and looking forward to a tough race due to the high temperatures.”
"Not a bad qualifying, but there was still some room for improvement. I was kind of happy all the way through qualifying but just on the final run in Q3 I locked up – just over-pushed a small amount into Turn 10 and locked my fronts – so I lost around a tenth, which could’ve been a couple of positions. I’m a little bit frustrated about that, but otherwise I'm happy we got into Q3. I think it was very close and we just about did a good enough job to get into Q3 in the first place. We can be very happy about being ahead of both Ferraris as well, who are definitely quicker than us. We should be in for an exciting race tomorrow.”
"I was very close to making the cut to Q3, as two thousands of a second is a very small gap. I tried everything and for sure it is a shame to be that close and not get through. I’ve been struggling all weekend to find the right balance. However, we have to look at the positives and with a free choice of tyres for tomorrow, hopefully we can do something different. We have tonight to think about that. Overall today, the first sector was ok, but then in the middle one the car started to be more and more nervous, I struggled in particular in turn 7, but also turn 5 was very tricky. The final sector was better, but there too, it wasn’t easy to find the right balance. Now we have to study the data in order to find some answers that could be helpful for the race."Charles Leclerc/strong>
"I am disappointed with our quali result. I was not very happy with the car today. At the beginning of quali it was not too bad but then I had a lot of understeer, which was getting worse and worse after every session and I just could not drive around this issue. We need to look into it and understand how we can fix it, because in the end P9 is disappointing. We were just not fast enough on our quick lap. Tomorrow we will be starting on Softs, which is not the best tyre here, and people behind us will start on Medium and Hard, probably the best strategy, so it won’t be easy."
“I think we can be pleased as a team to get another Q3 this weekend, especially because it was a difficult Friday yesterday and I didn’t feel so comfortable in the car. We made a good step forward for quali; I had a good result in Q2 and we decided to keep one more prime tyre for the race. We had only four sets of softs which meant we had to run with the used tyres at the start of Q2, which wasn't easy, but we made it so I’m quite happy with that. Q3 was very tight and even if at the end I’m happy, inside myself I’m also a bit disappointed because you always feel like you could have done slightly better and maybe get a few more hundredths out of the car. As for the race, it’s not going to be an easy one tomorrow, but I hope we can score a few points to catch up from the missed opportunity last week.”Daniil Kvyat
“This morning I struggled with the car which was not behaving well, so we definitely made good steps going into qualifying. I’m quite satisfied today as it was a solid session. I think it was a strong lap and P12 is a good position to start the race from, and fight for points starting on fresher tyres. I just hope we’ll have good pace tomorrow and that we can make it work so we can finish in the top 10 again.”
“It was a shame that it was so close out there and we only have thirteenth place to show for it. When you miss out by such a little margin, it’s a shame as it could be the difference between four spots on the grid. It was a clean lap in Q2, but other teams were able to find a little bit more. We have to find a way tomorrow and we’ll be pushing as best as we can. It will be hard for overtaking, but we’ll try. It’s going to be hot, the tyres are going to have a workout and there could be some opportunities on strategy for the race. I’m still optimistic for points.”Esteban Ocon
“On a positive note, the mechanics were incredible. After the unfortunate incident in FP3, the car was badly damaged and, in under two hours, they managed to put it back together. It was a fantastic effort so a big thanks to all of them. Unfortunately, the negative is that we didn’t have the pace to get into Q3 today. It’s something we need to keep looking at as we know the importance of reaching the top 10. Last week we were fourteenth on the grid and scored points, so I’ll give it my best tomorrow to do the same.”
"This is a great result for the team and I'm grateful for everyone continuing to push. It was very hot and quite gusty out there which made for a tricky session. We changed a few things overnight, made a good step forward and I was pretty happy with my first laps in each Qualifying session. The first Q3 lap was really solid but there was still a bit of room for improvement. But my second lap wasn't particularly great and I just couldn't go quicker. In the end, it was very close with Valtteri out there, he's keeping me on my toes and every millisecond counts. Tomorrow is going to be challenging, as the race scenario is completely different. Over a single lap, we seem to have the edge, but Red Bull's race pace looks strong and the run down to Turn 1 is very long, so I'm expecting a tough battle."Valtteri Bottas
"I knew it was going to be close with Lewis, but he did a really nice and clean lap on that first run in Q3. Particularly in sector three, where I've been struggling a bit all through today. The balance of the car wasn't quite right for me in that sector, but it kept getting better and better through Qualifying. In the end, it just wasn't quite good enough, which is a little annoying. Lewis did a good job and it's been another really strong performance as a team that we can be proud of. Looking to tomorrow, my long runs have been competitive but the person at the front always has the best chance, so that long run down to Turn 1 at the start will be my best opportunity and I'll try to get there first. The Red Bull looked very strong in the long runs, so I'm sure they'll be quick tomorrow as well."
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen
“It was definitely a positive day: the car felt a lot better and it gave me the confidence to drive it how I wanted. We made it to Q2 and we could have achieved even more, but we didn’t have any more sets of soft tyres so we had to use the mediums. Perhaps we could have been in the fight for Q3 but for now we have to be happy. We had the speed and hopefully we can take it from here. We are moving in the right direction and we know what we have to do to be in the points tomorrow – be faster than the guys in front of us.”Antonio Giovinazzi
“Not the easiest qualifying session for me. At the end of the first lap I went on a kerb and I think the floor may have got damaged. We’ll need to check what happened, but after that it was difficult to do a second lap as the handling was off. That was today, now we have to think about the race. It will be difficult to recover a good result from P20, even with a good strategy, but we’ll give everything we have.”
“The car just didn’t feel the same from this morning, I could feel it coming sadly. It’s a shame as I had really wanted to keep the car exactly the same from Friday. We had to change a lot of parts on the car like the engine and so on. The guys had worked until 4 a.m. and I really wanted to give them something good today, but the good front-end that I had has gone. I can’t drive with understeer and I didn’t have any confidence – it’s killing us. We need to analyse and understand what happened.”Kevin Magnussen
“It was close in terms of getting through, it wouldn’t have taken a lot to get further up and into Q2. We were compromised quite a bit on the out lap of my second run with all the traffic. It was a pretty hectic and slow out lap from a lot of people. The last few corners I was basically stopped on track, I was just rolling the wheels slightly, it was walking speed. The tyres cooled down a lot. The car’s been there all weekend though, it was back to normal. I just haven’t been able to put together a lap to show it. It’s a little bit of a missed opportunity I feel. I was confident coming into qualifying that I’d have a good car, and I felt like I did. Our race pace looks pretty good though, much better than our qualifying pace – which we didn’t really get to show this afternoon.”