Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix by just half a tenth from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in a close qualifying session.
Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen will line up on the second row, ahead of the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Fernando Alonso produced one of the most remarkable results of the session and will line up for his home grand prix in seventh position in his McLaren.
Track temperature had risen almost ten degrees from the end of final practice as the cars ventured out at the start of qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
After Ferrari had worked hard to fix problems on Sebastian Vettel’s car following final practice, there was more drama for Ferrari with Vettel being told to “stop the car” half way around his initial outlap.
Vettel immediately backed off, but after questioning the need to stop and switching a driver default setting, Ferrari informed the championship leader that the issue had been resolved. Vettel wasted no time in getting a fast lap in, securing his place into Q2 before pitting to allow Ferrari plenty of time to examine the data.
The battle to qualify for the second session was hard fought, with a number of teams at risk of elimination.
The two Spaniards of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jnr both set solid times to secure passage through to Q2, Sainz’s Toro Rosso team mate Daniil Kvyat struggled to keep pace and was the first driver to be knocked out and resigned a 20th place start.
Jolyon Palmer also failed once again to match the pace of his Renault team mate Nico Hulkenberg and was duly eliminated from Q1, while the rookies of Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll also could not join their team mates through to Q2.
Marcus Ericsson was the final driver eliminated and will start tomorrow’s race in 16th in the Sauber.
Drivers eliminated in Q1
|20||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1’22.746|
Attention turned to the front of the grid at the beginning of the second session, with both Ferrari and Mercedes ramping up the pace.
Hamilton set the benchmark with a 1’20.210, with Vettel posting a time within a tenth of the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas was only five-thousandths slower than Vettel, with Raikkonen four tenths off Hamilton’s pace in fourth.
The biggest surprise of the second session came when Fernando Alonso delivered a superb lap to snatch the final place in Q3 in tenth lap – to the delight of the local fans.
Felipe Massa improved on Williams’ Q1 performance to secure his place in the top ten, while Force India showed strong pace again by getting both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon through into the final qualifying session.
A mistake entering the chicane on his final attempt scuppered Romain Grosjean’s chances of making it through to Q3, while Kevin Magnussen only just missed out in 11th.
A frustrated Nico Hulkenberg was unable to turn Renault’s practice pace into a top ten start, while Carlos Sainz will line up 12th on the grid after achieving what he told his team was the ‘maximum’ result they could have managed.
Drivers eliminated in Q2
|12||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1’21.371|
With Ferrari and Mercedes matching each other for pace, Q3 was perfectly poised to provide another fascinating battle for pole between the sport’s fastest teams.
Mercedes once again demonstrated their ability to find extra performance in Q3 when Hamilton comfortably lowered the fastest time of the weekend with a 1’19.149.
Valtteri Bottas went two tenths slower than his team mate, but it would still prove quicker than the Ferraris after the first runs.
With the session winding down, the cars ventured out for their final attempts to secure pole position. Both Bottas and Hamilton were unable to improve significantly on their times, leaving the door open for Ferrari to potentially snatch pole position.
Vettel improved by two tenths, but while it jumped him above Bottas onto the front row of the grid, it wasn’t enough to usurp Hamilton from pole. Raikkonen failed to improve and will start fourth in the second Ferrari.
The two Red Bulls occupy the third row, while Fernando Alonso produced a stunning result to line up in seventh following his horror start to the weekend.
Felipe Massa split the two Force Indias of Perez and Ocon to round out the top ten.
Top ten in Q3
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1’19.706|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1’20.175|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India||1’21.070|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1’21.272|
2017 Spanish Grand Prix
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- Bottas admits braking “too early” in Spain crash
- Second Driver of the Weekend win for Wehrlein
- Tense Spanish Grand Prix gets solid rating
- 2017 Spanish GP team radio transcript