With Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes coming out on top in first and second practice and Ferrari surprising many to top final practice with Kimi Raikkonen in the car, the battle for pole position was set to be close once again for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton secures pole at Spanish Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso impresses for McLaren
The first session of qualifying was topped by Lewis Hamilton, who set the early pace for Mercedes while Kimi Raikkonen joined him in second place. In the early stages of the session, there were worried faces in the Ferrari garage, with Sebastian Vettel experiencing more issues with his car after an engine change before the session. Nevertheless, Vettel managed to continue and got through to Q2. The first part of qualifying marked the elimination of five drivers, narrowing the field down to only 15 for the nest session. Marcus Ericsson was eliminated for Sauber, and narrowly missed out on a Q2 appearance after having a strong weekend so far. Ericsson will start in 16th place. Starting alongside Ericsson will be Jolyon Palmer for Renault, who was out qualified by his team mate for the fifth race in a row. Lance Stroll will start the Spanish Grand Prix down in 18th place for Williams after being unable to progress to Q2. Stoffel Vandoorne was also eliminated from qualifying for McLaren, and will start in 19th place. This marks the fifth time in five races that Vandoorne has been eliminated from Q1. Starting alongside Vandoorne on the back row of the grid will be Daniil Kvyat for Toro Rosso, qualifying in 20th and last place.
Lewis Hamilton continued where he left off going into the second qualifying session in Spain, topping the time sheets once again whilst being closely followed by Sebastian Vettel. Q2 marked the elimination of another five drivers from qualifying, narrowing the field down to only ten drivers for the top ten shootout. Kevin Magnussen narrowly missed out on a Q3 appearance for Haas F1, and will start in 11th place for the Spanish Grand Prix. Lining up alongside Magnussen in the race will be home favorite, Carlos Sainz Jr, who qualified in 12th place for Toro Rosso. Nico Hulkeneberg was also eliminated from qualifying for Renault, and will start down in 13th place. Romian Grosjean joined his team mate in elimination from Q2, qualifying in 14th place after out braking himself going into turn 14 on his final lap, causing him to abort his finest effort of the session. Rounding out the session was Pascal Wehrlein for Sauber, who qualified in 15th place.
Going into the final session of qualifying, the battle for pole position was looming, with both Ferrari and Mercedes being able to challenge for the top spot. In the first runs of the session, Lewis Hamilton secured provisional pole. With two minutes to go, the top ten filtered out on track to do their final laps of the session. After the checkered flag was waved and everyone had crossed the line, Lewis Hamilton remained as the fastest man on track, meaning that he will start on pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix. Starting alongside him in second place will be Sebastian Vettel for Ferrari, with the current championship leader being only 0.051 seconds slower than the pole time. Valtteri Bottas will start in third place for Mercedes, and will be joined on the second row of the grid by his fellow countryman, Kimi Raikkonen. Max Verstappen out qualified his team mate for fifth place, with Daniel Ricciardo starting alongside him in sixth on the third row of the grid. Fernando Alonso put in a very impressive performance for McLaren, putting his car into seventh place. Sergio Perez qualified in eighth place for Force India, followed by Felipe Massa in ninth place for Williams. Esteban Ocon rounded out the top ten in tenth place in the second Force India.
With not even one tenth of a second separating Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in qualifying, the battle for the race win tomorrow is shaping up to be a thriller. With the Spanish Grand Prix churning out ten different winners over the last ten years, a lot of speculation surrounds who will win the race, and many will wonder if Valtteri Bottas can make it 11 different winners, starting in third place and being on very strong form coming back from a win at the Russian Grand Prix.
Qualifying results from the Spanish Grand Prix:
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:19.149
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:19.200
- Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:19.373
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:19.439
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:19.706
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:20.175
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:21.048
- Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:21.070
- Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:21.232
- Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:21.272
- Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1, 1:21.329 (Q2)
- Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:21.371 (Q2)
- Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:21.397 (Q2)
- Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:21.517 (Q2)
- Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 1:21.803 (Q2)
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:22.332 (Q1)
- Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:22.401 (Q1)
- Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:22.411 (Q1)
- Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:22.532 (Q1)
- Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:22.746 (Q1)