For the first time this season, Mercedes has been able to pull off a front row lockout in qualifying. In Q3, Lewis Hamilton clocked in a 1:16.173s, making it his second pole position this season. His teammate Valtteri Bottas finished just +0.040s behind him. The second row is occupied by both Ferrari cars (Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen), while the third row has the Red Bull Racing drivers, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Kevin Magnussen, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean completed the top 10.
Mercedes Pull Off First Front Row Lockout Of 2018
Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley did not get the chance to qualify as earlier in the day his car crashed in FP3. Nico Hulkenberg for Renault did not make it out of Q1, as he had a “fuel pressure” issue. The Williams team driver Lance Stroll also had issues in Q1, as he went off into the gravel during his hot lap. He finished the session with the slowest time on the grid. In the final moments of Q1, Stoffel Vandoorne just barely escaped the cut, getting up to 15th. The eliminated cars in order for 20th to 15th were Hartley, Stroll, Sergey Sirotkin, Marcus Ericsson and Hulkenberg.
Q2 – Sebastian Vettel is Fastest
Lance Stroll’s accident in Q1 led to debris on the track, which did not get properly cleaned up, according to Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton radioed to his team saying “They did a really poor job with cleaning the track”. Vettel was on top of the leaderboard once again, at the end of Q2 with a time of 1:16.802s. The top six drivers set their fastest laps on the more durable soft compound tyres and will start their race on those tyres.
Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Stoffel Vandoorne were in the dropzone for the session.
Q3 – The Lewis Hamilton Show
With 7 minutes to go in Q3, the Red Bull drivers surprisingly moved up on the leader board to P2 and P3. With two minutes to go, Hamilton was on pole position. To solidify his pole position, he improved his time once again. Mercedes achieved their first front row lockout since the Abu Dhabi GP last year.
The two Ferrari drivers were down the order as they found it hard to warm up the supersoft tyres in Q3. They bolted on the soft tyres and managed to set the lap times to lockout the second row. With fairly evenly matched race pace among the top 3 teams, the race tomorrow is going to be very interesting.
Spanish GP Qualifying Results:
|5||33||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:17.411||1:17.266||1:16.816||15|
|6||3||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:17.623||1:17.638||1:16.818||19|
|12||10||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:18.550||1:18.463||16|
|13||31||Force India Mercedes||1:18.813||1:18.696||18|
|15||11||Force India Mercedes||1:18.740||1:19.098||18|
Q1 107% time – 1:22.423
Note – Sirotkin penalised three grid places for causing a collision at the previous round. Hartley failed to meet 107% Q1 requirement – races at stewards’ discretion.
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