BARCELONA, Spain — Report by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — David Ramos/Getty Images Europe photo —
Following an outing in Russia where he couldn’t even take a lap in the final round of drills, Lewis Hamilton emphatically took the pole position for Sunday’s Formula One Spanish Grand Prix during qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton’s lap of 1:22.000 came after he locked up the brakes and ran wide at turn 10 on his first run in the third and final round of qualifying, besting Rosberg by just over a quarter second in the end for the top spot on the grid after an intense qualifying battle between the two.
“I’m very, very happy with getting the lap (we needed) on that last run,” Hamilton said of scoring his 52nd career F1 pole. “Obviously Nico has been very strong all weekend, so it was crucial that we did what we did there. Bit by bit … one step at a time, I’ve been really trying to bring the pace together the last few weeks and this is where it’s paid off.”
“I really want to say a big thank you to all the time all the guys back at the factory have spent, working so hard over the past two weeks to try to rectify the issues we’ve had. This is three out of three for me, so I’m pretty happy. Obviously I didn’t get to compete in the last two qualifying sessions, so I’m very, very happy with it and very grateful as well. The car was great. Yesterday was a bit of a difficult day, so to be able to start on the right foot today is a real blessing.”
Rosberg claimed the outside pole with his best time of 1:22.280, also on his final run in Q3.
” I wanted to be first today, of course, but Lewis was just quicker in qualifying today and that’s it,” the championship leader and four-race winner this season said after qualifying. “Fortunately, it’s the race that counts so there are still a couple of opportunities tomorrow for sure … at the start for example. And then strategy-wise, it’s not going to be an easy race tomorrow, so I’ll try and take my chances there.”
In a session when much had been expected of Ferrari, the red cars were dramatically upstaged by the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and his new teammate, Max Verstappen.
Ricciardo secured third on the grid with a clip of 1:22.680, just four-tenths off of Rosberg’s pace, while Verstappen impressed all onlookers after heading his teammate in Q1 and coming in very close behind during Q2 and Q3. The teenager’s lap of 1:23.087 was good enough for fourth in his first race weekend outing for Red Bull Racing, having been promoted up to the main team from Scuderia Toro Rosso following the Russian Grand Prix.
On the flip side of the story, Kimi Raikkonen ended the session fifth (1:23.113) ahead of teammate and quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel (1:23.334), a veritable disaster for Ferrari after their pace was expected to directly attack the Mercedes camp this weekend.
Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz Jr., Sergio Perez and the McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso capped the top 10 on the grid, with Alonso securing McLaren’s first Q3 appearance of the season by just 0.011 of a second over Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Dany Kvyat, who was dropped back to Toro Rosso from the Red Bull main team, was 13th and the Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez were 14th and 16th, respectively.
The Spanish Grand Prix takes the green flag at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
Formula One Communications contributed to this report.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
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