The Mercedes-AMG team’s dominance over one lap in the 2020 Formula 1 season was on display for all to see in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton just pipping teammate Valtteri Bottas to pole position.
The gap to the rest of the field – over seven-tenths of a second – was vast as the team once again demonstrated they are all but untouachable in terms of raw pace and grip. For Hamilton, this was his fourth pole position in six events this season, his 92nd Formula 1 pole position overall, and his 150th front-row start.
Teammate Bottas was once again left to marvel at Hamilton’s efforts, although in fairness to the Finn he finished up just 0.059 seconds shy of claiming back-to-back pole positions. The difference between the two came down to the final sector of the lap, and with 21 of the 29 Grands Prix held here being won from pole position, Bottas will need to get the jump when the lights go out.
A distant third-fastest, as he has been all weekend, was Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Dutch driver has cause for optimism that he can, as he did last time out at Silverstone, take the fight to the Mercedes’ given hot track temperatures will not play to the W11’s tyre preservation strengths.
Sergio Pérez was a fine fourth-fastest for Racing Point after his Coronavirus hiatus with teammate Lance Stroll in fifth. Verstappen’s teammate Alexander Albon was sixth-fastest – a better performance than of late, but still over half a second off the pace of his teammate.
The top-ten was completed by McLaren duo Carlos Sainz and Landro Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Sebastian Vettel’s troubled 2020 campaign continued, with the four-time World Champion just missing out on a Q3 berth. Neither Renault made Q3 – Daniel Ricciardo was 13th and teammate Esteban Ocon was 15th after crashing his car in FP3.
Conversely, there was cause for celebration at Alfa Romeo, which saw Kimi Räikkönen give the Swiss-run team its first Q2 appearance of the season. The 2007 World Champion starts the race from 14th on the grid.
The Haas team’s promising Friday pace mysteriously evaporated by the time qualifying came around. The team had to break curfew to perform a multitude of parts changes on Romain Grosjean’s car overnight, but that did not improve the Frenchman’s fortunes as he qualified a poor 17th with teammate Kevin Magnussen 16th.
George Russell continued his streak of never being outqualified by a teammate, but ended his run of Q2 appearances this time around. The Briton starts from 18th ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi, while Antonio Giovinazzi in the second Alfa Romeo was the slowest qualifier after damaging his floor over the kerbs.
|FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2020 – QUALIFYING|
|Q3 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap|
|1.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:15.584|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team W11||1:15.643||+ 0.059|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:16.292||+ 0.708|
|4.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:16.482||+ 0.898|
|5.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP20||1:16.589||+ 1.005|
|6.||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing RB16||1:17.029||+ 1.445|
|7.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:17.044||+ 1.460|
|8.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL35||1:17.084||+ 1.500|
|9.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:17.087||+ 1.503|
|10.||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:17.136||+ 1.552|
|Q2 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap*|
|11.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF1000||1:17.168||+ 1.155|
|12.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlfaTauri AT01||1:17.192||+ 1.179|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:17.198||+ 1.185|
|14.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:17.386||+ 1.373|
|15.||Esteban Ocon||Renault F1 Team R.S.20||1:17.567||+ 1.554|
|Q1 Qualifiers||Team / Entry||Time||Gap**|
|16.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:17.908||+ 1.036|
|17.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-20||1:18.089||+ 1.217|
|18.||George Russell||Williams Racing FW43||1:18.099||+ 1.227|
|19.||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing FW43||1:18.532||+ 1.660|
|20.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C39||1:18.697||+ 1.825|
* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 lap time of 1:16.013 set by Lewis Hamilton
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 lap time of 1:16.872 set by Lewis Hamilton
Image via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
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