Nico Rosberg will start from pole position ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the Spanish Grand Prix.
There didn’t seem to be much doubt from Rosberg, quickly demoting Hamilton to second during Q2 by half a second, making his intentions clear that he would not lose out to his team-mate again.
When it came to Q3 it was a similar story. Hamilton put his flying lap in first, only to be beaten by a storming Rosberg by 0.267 seconds. Both Hamilton and Vettel attempted to improve on their second and final flying lap but couldn’t get near Rosberg’s benchmark.
At the beginning of the Q1, the top three opted to save their medium tyres and complete the 18 minutes using the hard compound tyre. Towards the end of the session, Hamilton complained of a lack of grip on the track, possibly due to the high temperature of the circuit.
At the conclusion of Q1 positions were changing quickly as multiple drivers found themselves in the knockout zone. Ultimately it was the two Manor-Marussia’s, both Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, and Marcus Ericsson who were eliminated.
Ericsson’s team-mate Felipe Nasr looked fast in Q1, however wasn’t quick enough to escape the drop zone in Q2. He will line up fifteenth on the grid.
Both McLaren’s were eliminated in Q2, although they can celebrate a minor win as they seem to have leapfrogged Force India and out-qualified both Sauber cars. Jenson Button complained of a problem with his brakes which saw his McLaren pull towards the left under heavy braking at Turn One. Less than a tenth separated himself and team-mate Fernando Alonso in 13th.
Romain Grosjean finished ahead of fellow Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado for the fifth time in a row, although he missed the final part of qualifying for the first time this season, as he fell over half a second short of the Q2 cut off after he experienced a loss of the front end at Turn 10.
Williams had a mixed qualifying session with Valtteri Bottas lining up fourth on the grid, while Felipe Massa was over a second behind in ninth position.
Toro Rosso on the other hand, looked to have exceeded expectations. Carlos Sainz Jr. led the charge finishing fifth while his team-mate Max Verstappen was a tenth of a second off in sixth position. Both Sainz and Verstappen finished ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo who qualified in eighth and tenth position respectively.
|Formula 1 Gran Premio de España Pirelli 2015 – Qualifying Results|
|Pos||Q3 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:24.681||18|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid||1:24.948||+ 0.267||17|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:25.458||+ 0.777||15|
|4.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:25.694||+ 1.013||16|
|5.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:26.136||+ 1.455||17|
|6.||Max Verstappen||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10||1:26.249||+ 1.568||20|
|7.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T||1:26.414||+ 1.733||16|
|8.||Daniil Kvyat||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:26.629||+ 1.948||16|
|9.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37||1:26.757||+ 2.076||16|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo||Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11||1:26.770||+ 2.089||16|
|Pos||Q2 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*||Laps|
|11.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:27.375||+ 2.209||13|
|12.||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid||1:27.450||+ 2.284||13|
|13.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:27.760||+ 2.594||11|
|14.||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda MP4-30||1:27.854||+ 2.688||12|
|15.||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:28.005||+ 2.839||14|
|Pos||Q1 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap**||Laps|
|16.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34||1:28.112||+ 1.730||6|
|17.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:28.365||+ 1.983||6|
|18.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08||1:28.442||+ 2.060||7|
|19.||Will Stevens||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:31.200||+ 4.818||6|
|20.||Roberto Merhi||Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03||1:32.038||+ 5.656||4|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:25.166 posted by Nico Rosberg
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:26.382 posted by Lewis Hamilton.
Images via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas