Rosberg on pole as again Mercedes claim front row

2013 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Cataunya, Barcelona, 2013Mercedes scored their third consecutive pole position in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix despite having shown little of their one-lap pace during practice.

Lewis Hamilton gave the first indication of their potential with a stunning lap in Q2. But it was Nico Rosberg who took pole position with Hamilton joining him on the front row.

Q1

Q1 began in ideal conditions with the track temperature up to 36C. But it took five minutes for the first cars to appear on the track.

The Lotus drivers headed the times initially but as their rivals improved both E21s had to be sent out for further runs. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean managed to improve their times sufficiently – the former doing so despite catching Esteban Gutierrez at the end of his lap.

“The Sauber blocked me completely,” complained Raikkonen. “He should get a penalty that was stupid.” He wasn’t the only driver complaining about being held up – Jenson Button had much the same to say about Pastor Maldonado after catching the Williams driver at the end of his lap. But Button also made it through to Q2.

Both Ferrari and Red Bull drivers only needed a single run to secure their places in Q2. Fernando Alonso was comfortably fastest until his time, set on hard tyres, was beaten by the medium-tyred Mercedes pair.

With the Caterham and Marussia drivers eliminated as usual, they were joined by the two Williams drivers, underlining how the team’s fortunes have changes since they won this race last year.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’23.260
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’23.318
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’24.661
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’24.713
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’24.996
22 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’25.070

Q2

Raikkonen hit the top of the times early on again but once again he was pegged back by a Ferrari. Alonso edged him by three hundredths of a second, then Vettel found another four-hundredths of a second on top of that.

But those wafer-thin margins were shattered by a stunning final lap by Hamilton, who beat them by six tenths of a second to end Q2 on top.

Webber improved to fifth after being told he was trying to activate DRS too early at the exit of turn nine and complaining he was held up by Massa. Joining the Red Bull driver on a 1’21.7 was Rosberg and – surprisingly – Sergio Perez, who dragged the McLaren into Q3. Button could only manage 14th.

Perez’s improvement consigned the two Toro Rossos to elimination along with Sutil – who got too close to Vergne on his run – Button and the two Saubers. Nico Hulkenberg said his lap had been “mega” and was astonished to discover he had missed Q3 by the margin he had.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.127
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.166
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’22.346
14 Jenson Button McLaren 1’22.355
15 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.389
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.793

Q3

Hamilton sat out the first round of laps in Q3 while team mate Rosberg went quickest with a 1’20.824. Alonso got closest but was four tenths of a second off the Mercedes, with Massa just a few hundredths off him.

But the home favourite’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when all ten drivers took to the track for their final runs. Raikkonen posted an improvement and faster times from Vettel and Hamilton pushed the Ferrari driver back to the third row. Massa came close to relegating him further – the pair were separated by just one thousandth of a second when the chequered flag came out.

Hamilton’s first effort wasn’t enough to beat Rosberg’s – and the latter improved with his second run as well to comfortably secure his second consecutive pole position.

Top ten in Q3

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’20.718
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’20.972
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’21.054
4 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’21.177
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.218
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’21.219
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’21.308
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’21.570
9 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’22.069
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’22.233

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

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57 comments on Rosberg on pole as again Mercedes claim front row

  1. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 11th May 2013, 14:24

    Well, that was good fun. Do we think there will be grid penalties for Gutierrez, Massa and Maldonado?

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 11th May 2013, 14:27

      To be fair to maldonado, he was technically on a timed lap at the time apparantly.

    • Slr (@slr) said on 11th May 2013, 14:31

      I think Gutierrez deserves a penalty, I’m not sure about the others though.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 14:52

      I can see Gutierrez definitely getting a penalty, Maldonado not so much and possibly Massa getting one. I don’t think Maldonado’s was that bad, although I may have skewed judgement because I just hate Button’s radio complaints “he’s got to get a penalty for that” – shut up and let the stewards decide!

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 11th May 2013, 15:03

        What did Massa do? Did I miss something?

        • Sheila (@st91) said on 11th May 2013, 15:07

          He blocked Webber in the Q2

          • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 11th May 2013, 15:57

            An excessive amount of blocking from drivers, can’t imagine quali in Monaco in a fortnight.

            Will be bewildered if Gutierrez gets a reprimand maximum: considerable gap to thr car in front of him so see little reason why he should be backing off that much and then suddenly accelerating mid-apex. As for Massa and Maldonado, Massa probably didn’t know Webber was right behind and only realised when he checked his mirrors and Maldonado couldn’t do anything about Button. Don’t see them getting any penalties.

      • smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 11th May 2013, 15:26

        At least he’s got the balls to say something stop whinging about drivers being human otherwise we will end up with boring robots.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 15:41

          @smudgersmith1 – I don’t know about you, but I was brought up with the mentality that “nobody like a whinger” and that you sort things out with actions, not words (unless you can articulate well enough so as they learn their lesson).

          Either way, I’d say it was better if he just shut up and got on with it than complain on the radio like that.

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 11th May 2013, 15:41

        @vettel1

        I just hate Button’s radio complaints

        I got to agree completely with you on that one Max. No matter how hard Jenson tries to keep a “clean” image, he just comes across as whining brat. I can´t stand him at all. He should just grow a pair!

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 15:49

          @karter22 It’s not even the fact he’s pointing it out as such, it’s the fact it’s always followed by “he’s got to get a penalty for that” or something along those lines – just do your own job man and let the stewards do theirs!

          Agreed though: man up Jenson and just give them a reminder afterwards!

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 11th May 2013, 14:24

    I wonder what’s going to happen to Gutierrez, because that was horrendous blocking of Raikkonen.

    He just wasn’t paying any attention to his surroundings.

  3. Swindle94 (@swindle94) said on 11th May 2013, 14:25

    Looks to be a great race between vettel, kimi and Alonso, who all looked evenly matched on their long runs. Until they can prove otherwise, I’m assuming the Mercedes will go backwards as soon as the lights go out.

  4. Nick (@npf1) said on 11th May 2013, 14:25

    Call me a cynic, but I think there’s a real chance that, come tomorrow, we’ll see Vettel storming off once he’s taken both Mercedes drivers. Unless they are more competitive than before and/or Alonso and Raikkonen can follow Vettel soon, we might see something like Bahrain this race..

  5. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 11th May 2013, 14:26

    How come Webber was so slow on his final lap?

  6. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 14:27

    Well I’ve got to say that despite their recent from I wasn’t expecting that – hats off to Mercedes! Although I can now foresee Vettel – if he makes a start akin to Bharain – taking the lead of lap one as I think the Mercedes drivers will have to cover each other off. I’m being fanciful though!

    • karter22 (@karter22) said on 11th May 2013, 15:44

      I hope we can see a repeat fro ALO snatching the lead before the first corner!

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 15:55

        @karter22 he’s a couple of places further down this time though but sure it’s possible! Either way, I don’t think it’s going to be Mercedes one and two by the second tour put it that way.

        • karter22 (@karter22) said on 11th May 2013, 15:59

          @vettel1

          he’s a couple of places further down

          He´s just 1 more place down. His epic start was 4th to 1st. He was on the dirty side and now this time, being on the clean line, I think we mmight just see some magic again! Anyways, it´s going to be hectic at the start but I bet he´s just gonna go for it and I hope all goes well!

          • Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 11th May 2013, 16:30

            @karter22
            I don’t think Alonso will be in Lead by T1 but he can gain places
            how much will be depends on How Rosberg Defends Lewis hamilton if he starts like Bahrain where he aggressively covered Vettel at T1.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 16:50

            @karter22 which epic start are you taking about? I immediately thought you were talking about last year, in which case *3 places further down!

            He’s made a fair few good starts in his time!

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 11th May 2013, 19:41

            2011 presume now Keith’s latest article has jogged my memory!

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 12th May 2013, 0:06

            @vettel1

            which epic start are you taking about?

            Keith’s latest article has jogged my memory!

            LMAO!! Yeah man… 2011 is the one I was referring to. It was EPIC and to think I was there and he was passing SV right in front of me! Oh the memories!! I hope he can work his magic tomorrow!

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th May 2013, 0:10

            @karter22 lucky you: I was due to be going to Abu Dhabi last year for the race and I’m incredibly frustrated that folded as it turned out to be absolutely brilliant (and not just because Vettel was on the podium, it was just genuinely a good race I thought)! Were you in the main grandstand then?

          • karter22 (@karter22) said on 12th May 2013, 0:18

            @vettel1
            No, I was in stand J, right after the grandstand. I was exactly in front of the pit exit (where the wall ends). It was my first and only experience (so far) going to a race so to be there and watch your “hero” pull something off like that right in front of you, well yes, it´s special. Although it was bitter sweet because he got lapped but for me it was just magical!
            Bummer on your Abu Dhabi race! I bet that must´ve stung a bit for a while.
            I wanted to make it to Brazil this year since it´s just waaaay south from where I live now but my mom fell ill and I´m taking care of her. I guess I´ll have to wait and see how it all works out.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 12th May 2013, 0:32

            @karter22 Yes, it was a bit of a disappointment as a massive understatement!

            I wish your mum all the best then and I hope she recovers, then hopefully you’ll get to see a second F1 race!

  7. Slr (@slr) said on 11th May 2013, 14:30

    Great performance from Mercedes, but I have a feeling we’re going to see someone win from behind the front row for the first time in a long time.

    I’m so happy for Perez and I hope he can score some good points tomorrow. I’d also love to see him continue this form and become the “number one” driver at McLaren.

  8. R.J. O'Connell (@rjoconnell) said on 11th May 2013, 14:38

    I think a lot of people are writing off Mercedes-Benz in the race way too soon. Nobody was optimistic that Maldonado would win from pole last year, and there’s a similar vibe this year around Rosberg and Hamilton.

    Yes, the chronic rear tyre wear is a problem, but if they can get out into clean air for long stretches of the race, I think they’ve got a very real chance to win.

  9. Pennyroyal tea (@peartree) said on 11th May 2013, 14:45

    Let’s hope that with both cars at the top Mercedes can capitalize on a first victory of the season, to be it would benefit from a similar situation to China 2012 when Michael shielded Rosberg very well, honestly nothing that RB hasn’t mastered, but I think no one expects Mercedes to have the pace for the race.

  10. tmax (@tmax) said on 11th May 2013, 14:48

    Good Qualifying session. I expected Ferrari to do better and Webber ahead of Kimi. Looks like they all did not have a great Q3.

    Hope merc can convert thus into a good win. The big boss is there. Lewis might be one happy man though he missed out the pole by a bit.

  11. tmax (@tmax) said on 11th May 2013, 14:57

    Any idea what exactly happened with McLaren as they were expected to bring some updates. It is a sad state because now mid teams like Force India, Torro Rossi , Dauber et all are looking at competing with McLaren. Hope they don’t get into that big spiral to the south like Williams, speaking of whom bit was absolutely disastrous Quality for them. They seem to be competing with the back markers. I feel that some big auto manufacturer like Volkswagen should buy them out and rescue them.

  12. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 11th May 2013, 15:05

    If it wasn’t for Perez, the Sky commentators would spend an eternity talking about how Jenson did a brilliant job to get that car in Q2 which is clearly on par with the Marrusia’s, etc…

    Nevertheless, nice job from Perez. Tomorrow, he needs to stay ahead of Button at all costs in order to avoid the “team radio messages”.

  13. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 11th May 2013, 15:12

    Really was expecting Vergne to get into the top 10 shootout; he outperformed Ricciardo all weekend and his laps in FP2 on the Hards were very impressive (I know free practice doesnt mean anything, but his laptime was still very impressive)

  14. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 11th May 2013, 15:12

    My jaw dropped when I saw Perez in 7th at the end of Q2.

  15. svianna (@svianna) said on 11th May 2013, 15:30

    Does anyone know why Lewis Hamilton hasn’t been wearing the Mercedes cap during the interviews, like the one post qualifying today? This kind of thing is normally built into their contracts and brands want to maximize exposure as much as they can. I find odd he did not have a cap again.

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