Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has notched up his 100th pole position in F1 after edging Max Verstappen out in a dramatic Qualifying session for 2021 Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton found himself slightly adrift of Verstappen after FP3 and made little impact across the first two Qualifying sessions, yet he pulled it together when it mattered most in Q3 to post a 1m 16.741 to snatch his centenary pole in F1 ahead of Verstappen.
Now here is a full roundup of Saturday’s FP3 and Qualifying.
A quiet start to the session saw nobody head out onto track in the opening five minutes, with Fernando Alonso eventually setting the first benchmark lap time of 1m 21.020 on medium tyres.
Charles Leclerc however emerged fastest in the opening 20 minutes with a 1m 18.997 on softs, before lowering it by 0.115 seconds on his second flier.
Once the frontrunners soon made their way out onto the track, Bottas was the first driver to better Leclerc’s time with 1m 18.423 but Hamilton soon afterwards went quicker than Bottas by 0.119s before lowing his benchmark to 1m 18.117 on his second lap.
Qualifying simulations soon followed with Leclerc and Carlos Sainz putting their Ferrari cars between Hamilton and Bottas, as both Mercedes drivers struggled to find time with Hamilton’s first quick lap slower than his best lap.
Hamilton eventually found just 0.047s which ultimately put him second quickest after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen delivered a late flier to top the session with a 1m 17.835 ahead of his title rival.
Leclerc, Sainz and Bottas rounded out the top five ahead of Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez who complete the top ten.
Raikkonen though was forced to pit just over ten minutes from the end of the session with a right-rear tyre puncture, whilst Norris spun off at Turn 10 after losing the rear of his McLaren but successfully managed to steer his way out of the gravel.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 17.835|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.235|
|3||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.473|
|4||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.575|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.588|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.659|
|7||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.700|
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.747|
|9||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.762|
|10||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.771|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 0.827|
|12||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.838|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.865|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.042|
|15||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.170|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.379|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 1.528|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.557|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.164|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 2.402|
The start of Qualifying was delayed by ten minutes to allow marshals extra time to repair barrier damage at Turn Nine after the opening race of the Formula Regional European Championship round.
Once the session commenced, Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was first driver out on track and set the early benchmark of 1m 20.242 until Bottas displaced him three minutes later with 1m 18.005.
A mix of drivers opted for two flying laps on their opening runs compared to others and come the 15th minute, Raikkonen, Stroll, Schumacher, Latifi and Mazepin were in the elimination zone.
Stroll however was the only driver to escape the drop on his final run as the latter three drivers stayed in that order, whilst Raikkonen will start 17th on the grid after being bumped down by Yuki Tsunoda who was a surprise Q1 exit.
Norris meanwhile topped Q1 with 1m 17.821 despite finding himself held up at the final chicane on his first run, which ultimately saw Mazepin handed a three-place penalty despite starting last on the grid anyway plus one penalty point on his super license.
Hamilton and Bottas were first out on track with the Finnish driver bettering his teammate by 0.232s on their first fliers, as Verstappen went top with 1m 16.922 which went unbeaten for the rest of Q2 with all three drivers opting for soft tyres of which they must now start the race on.
Once opening runs were complete, Ocon, Perez, Vettel, Russell and Giovinazzi were in the drop zone, with Giovinazzi demoting Russell to 15th on the Italian’s final lap as Vettel stayed 13th.
Stroll and Gasly were unexpected casualties as Alonso scraped through at their expense with 0.016s separating the trio, with the exact gaps between Alonso to Stroll to Ocon coincidentally both being 0.008s.
Norris set the initial pace with 1m 18.010 but he was swiftly dismantled by several drivers as Hamilton went top with 1m 16.741, with Verstappen just 0.036s behind in second and Bottas just 0.096s behind the Dutchman in third.
Sergio Perez meanwhile spun on his first Q3 lap after dipping his left tyres in the gravel on the run to Turn 13, with the Mexican only recovering to qualify eighth on his final attempt.
Unfortunately many drivers failed to improve on their final runs except for Leclerc who went fourth ahead of Ocon, Sainz and Ricciardo as Perez, Norris and Alonso rounded out the top ten.
Up front, Hamilton held on to pole as he, Verstappen and Bottas all failed to improve on their final fliers which meant that the Brit clinched his 100th pole position in F1.
|1||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1m 16.741|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.036|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.132|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.769|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.839|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.879|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.881|
|8||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.960|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.269|
|10||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.406|
|11||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1m 17.974|
|12||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.008|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.105|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.382|
|15||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.180|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||1m 18.556|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.|
|18||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 0.|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 0.|