Mercedes seems unbeatable as Valtteri Bottas scored pole in F1 Spanish GP from Lewis Hamilton with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third.
The first part of qualifying in F1 Spanish GP at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, saw Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas head the standings with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in a surprise second with Lewis Hamilton in third.
The nightmare for Renault continued with Nico Hulkenberg having an off on the gravel which broke his front wing as he limped back into the pitlane but fortunately, it didn’t break the suspension as the German managed to venture out and set a lap time.
But his lap time of 1m18.404s wasn’t enough as he bowed out in 16th with Racing Point’s Lance Stroll (1m18.471s) in 17th ahead of Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m18.664s) – the latter two losing out all the time in the final sector.
The two Williams drivers sealed the final row on the grid with George Russell (1m19.072s) in 19th ahead of Robert Kubica (1m20.254s). The British driver had a spin but did well in the end to finish only 0.408s behind Giovinazzi, the closest they have managed to in 2019.
There wasn’t any strategy games being played out in the second part of qualifying with all the drivers going for the soft option. At the front, it was a blistering pace from Mercedes’ Bottas with Lewis Hamilton in second and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in third.
Teammate Leclerc had to use another set of soft after the Monegasque ran wide over the kerbs which needed another go to finish fourth. It was frantic outside the Top 10 with both McLaren drivers out of qualifying as Lando Norris (1m17.338s) was 11th.
He was followed by Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon (1m17.445s) and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m17.599s), both having a moment on their quick laps, which probably cost them few tenths – in fact, Sainz aborted his lap eventually.
The bottom two positions in Q2 were filled by Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m17.788s) in 14th and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez (1m17.886s) in 15th – in a difficult run for both the outfits, at least on the Saturday.
It was provisional pole for Bottas with a 1m15.406s lap as the Finn was 0.634s up on Hamilton after the British driver made a slight mistake on his initial run. Vettel was third but nearly one second down on Bottas.
The Finn did not improve on his final run but it was enough for Bottas to take pole in F1 Spanish GP – his third consecutive pole of 2019 with a new lap record. It is a Mercedes 1-2 still with Hamilton (1m16.040s) in second and Vettel (1m16.272s) in third.
Ferrari would not be too pleased as Verstappen (1m16.357s) managed to split their two cars with Leclerc (1m16.588s) only managing fifth after his Q2 mistake. Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly (1m16.708s) did well to end up sixth ahead of the Haas drivers.
It was Romain Grosjean (1m16.911s) as best of rest in seventh with Kevin Magnussen (1m16.922s) eighth as Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (1m17.573s) and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m18.106s) rounded out the Top 10.