Championship leader Charles Leclerc set an inspiring time to top the qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, beating his championship rival Max Verstappen and his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.Home hero Alonso knocked out - Q1
The qualifying session started slowly as drivers were waiting in the garages, being aware of the fact that the tyres only allow a single hot lap in the sunny and extremely hot conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The top drivers joined the action after a few drivers registered their first laps in the session. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez posted a 1m20.447s to fly to the top of the session. His teammate Max Verstappen managed to beat that time by four tenths of a second, but the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz quickly beat the reigning world champion’s benchmark with the Monegasque setting a time of 1m19.861s.
Eliminated were Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi. Alonso was surely left disappointed getting stuck in traffic in the warm-up lap to his second attempt as many others were close to missing the flag to start their laps as well.
Mercedes shocked their rivals with their hot laps at the beginning of the second qualifying session as Russell clocked a 1m19.470s with his team mate Hamilton three tenths of a second adrift. However, Mercedes sent their drivers on a new set of red-walled soft Pirelli on to the hot asphalt of the 4.6km Barcelona-Catalunya circuit whereas the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers were on a used set of softs on their initial stint.
When Sainz and Verstappen reappeared on a shiny new set of Pirellis for the final minutes of the session, the Spaniard beat Russell's benchmark. However, it did not last long as Verstappen set a new benchmark at his last attempt in Q2. Championship leader Leclerc took a big gamble and refused to rejoin the track action, saving a new set of softs for the 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix.
As Leclerc didn't really get into a troubling situation and comfortably made it through, both Haas drivers made a considerable improvement and made it through into the final section of qualifying. It wasn't without a bit of antics though as Schumacher only moved into 10th when McLaren's Lando Norris' best laptime got deleted due to exceeding track limits at Turn 12.
After refusing to use a fresh set of Pirelli tyres in the second qualifying session, Leclerc was adamant to show his ultimate pace in Q3. The Monegasque was quick through the first two sectors, but made a crucial mistake in the last sector when he span around with his Ferrari SF-75. The championship leader could recover his car, but needed to limp back to the pits.
In the meantime, Verstappen did what he had to and lapped Circuit de Catalunya in 1m19.073s which was the best laptime thus far this weekend. Carlos Sainz managed P2 after the first runs with Perez, Russell and Hamilton taking the spots behind.
Leclerc thus found himself under high pressure after that first failed attempt. The conditions seemed to work to his favour as the next lap was error-free and lightning quick. Leclerc nearly matched Verstappen's first sector and went on to get an advantage from the second and third sectors, completing a lap in 1m18.750s.
The others had no answer and Verstappen was unable to properly have another go as a power loss forced him to abort his second flying lap. Carlos Sainz was more than three tenths down on his teammate in third. George Russell managed a brilliant P4 for Mercedes, beating Perez and Hamilton.
Despite missing the majority of the second session due to reliability issues, Valtteri Bottas secured a seventh starting place for Alfa Romeo with Kevin Magnussen taking P8 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher.
|2||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:20.091||1:19.219||1:19.073||16|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:20.447||1:19.830||1:19.420||17|
|7||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:20.355||1:20.053||1:19.608||18|
|8||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:20.227||1:19.810||1:19.682||18|
|9||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:20.549||1:20.287||1:20.297||15|
|10||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:20.683||1:20.436||1:20.368||18|
|11||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:20.838||1:20.471||12|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:20.880||1:20.638||9|
|13||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:20.707||1:20.639||15|
|14||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:20.719||1:20.861||15|
|15||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:20.476||1:21.094||15|
|16||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:20.954||6|
|17||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:21.043||5|
|18||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:21.418||6|
|19||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:21.645||6|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:21.915||9|