Hamilton heads first Mercedes 1-2 in 2018 in Spain

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton breaks Ferrari’s 2018 Pole Position streak of 3 races as he takes pole position ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as McLaren finally break into Q3 for the first time this season.

12/05/18

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes pulled it out of the bag to grab pole position, the first for a Mercedes car since the season start in Australia. Hamilton said that he “needed” this pole, in fact his 74th career pole position. Hamilton’s team-mate Valterri Bottas was a close 2nd making sure that Mercedes secured their first front-row lock-out of the season.

Ferrari looked favourites for pole but their first laps in Q3 were horrendous. Sebastian Vettel was 4th and Kimi Raikkonen, who ran wide at turn 2, was 7th. In the end, both were able to improve to 3rd and 4th but not enough to get onto the front-row. Raikkonen will start on the Soft tyre tomorrow.

Red Bull were one of the notably teams who brought upgrades to Barcelona in a hope to close the gap further to the top 2 teams and reach the front-row. However, this wasn’t the case with Max Verstappen once again out-qualifying Daniel Ricciardo to 5th and 6th. Ricciardo will start tomorrow’s race on the Soft tyre as well.

It was a strong performance from Kevin Magnussen to get his Haas car to 7th on the grid. With Romain Grosjean 10th, it mirrored a performance the team showed in Australia. Both will be hoping to score points as they hope to leapfrog Toro Rosso and Force India in the Constructors Championship.

Home favourite Fernando Alonso put the McLaren upgrades to the test with the team celebrating their first Q3 appearance of the season. Alonso wasn’t quite able to out-qualify Magnussen but was quicker than fellow countryman Carlos Sainz. Stoffel Vandoorne however had a close shave in Q1 after nearly being knocked out but was able to slot into 11th.

It was a mixed day for Renault. Carlos Sainz made it into the top ten eventually qualifying 9th ahead of his home race. It was a different story for Nico Hulkenberg who suffered a fuel pressure issue with a couple of minutes to go in Q1. He was able to get out and put in one flying lap but that wasn’t enough to secure a place in Q2.

It was a mixed day for Toro Rosso as well. Pierre Gasly did well to beat both Force India’s to go 12th while team-mate Brendon Hartley didn’t participate in Qualifying. Hartley, crashed heavily in FP3, wrecking the car and therefore not being able to take part in Qualifying. Hartley, is fit to race tomorrow but appears to be “sore”.

It was another wonderful performance by Charles Leclerc to get into Q2 and then split the Force India’s to go 14th. His Sauber team-mate, Marcus Ericsson wasn’t able to make it out of Q1 but again was able to beat both Williams cars to 17th.

It was a frustrating day down at the Force India garage. Both appeared to be in the mix for the top ten, but lacked outright pace come qualifying. Esteban Ocon was able to out-qualify team-mate Sergio Perez to 13th while Perez languished in 15th. It’ll be a tough ask for a repeat of Baku where Perez was able to stand on the podium however some points are more likely to be on offer.

Williams’s woes continued from Friday into Saturday. Lance Stroll took a trip through the gravel in FP3 before crashing at the end of Q1. Sergey Sirotkin kept his FW41 on the track but didn’t fare much better. Sirotkin carriers a 3-place grid drop earned at the last race for colliding with Perez.

Qualifying Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:16:173
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:16:213
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:16:305
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:16:612
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:16:816
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:16:818
  7. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1:17:676
  8. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:17:721
  9. Carlos Sainz, Renault, 1:17:790
  10. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:17:835
  11. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:18:323
  12. Pierre Gasly, Torro Rosso, 1:18:463
  13. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:18:696
  14. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, 1:18:910
  15. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:19:098
  16. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:18:923
  17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:19:493
  18. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1:19:695
  19. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:20:225
  20. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, DNC

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