Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas is the hottest driver in F1 at the moment and he continued that form. The championship leader notched his third pole in as many races and ninth of his career Saturday (May 11) with a lap at 138.069 mph, a new track record.
Bottas is really showing some serious strength after a disappointing 2019 and very much outshining his five-time world champion teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who qualified second more than six-tenths of a second behind Bottas.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas as a whole is running away from the rest of the field as Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari was nearly a second off of the pole in third position. Max Verstappen splits the Ferrari drivers in fourth with Charles Leclerc in fifth. Another tough Qualifying session for Leclerc as he over ran the exit of the fast right hander in Q2, scraping up pieces of the car which caused damage and a necessary second hot lap in the second session. The second run left him with only one set of tires for Q3 and did not have the tires to jump into the second row of the grid.
Pierre Gasly continues to struggle in the Red Bull and is four tenths behind his teammate Verstappen in sixth. Romain Grosjean was best of the rest as the French driver was in need of a good run this weekend with zero points on the board in 2019, he will roll off in seventh ahead of his Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen in eighth. Daniil Kvyat performed well in Q2 to get into the top 10 and set the ninth fastest time. Daniel Ricciardo can only muster up 10th in the Renault, but the Aussie will have a three-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s race after he reversed into Kvyat after an outbraking moment in Baku two weeks ago.
Qualifying Two was tame as it compared to Qualifying One, which you’ll soon read about below. Lando Norris barely missed out on Q3 and qualified 11th quickest, Alex Albon was 12th. Carlos Sainz missed the corner before the final chicane and was forced to abandon his final lap in Q2 and had to settle for 13th in front of his hometown Spanish crowd for potentially the final time. Kimi Raikkonen was 14th as Alfa Romeo do not seem to be on the pace in Spain with Sergio Perez at the bottom of Q2 in 15th.
It was quite an eventful Q1, Nico Hulkenberg locked up on his out lap and skidded to a stop. He just barely touched the wall and damaged the front wing on his Renault. The German driver limped back to the pits with his front wing dragging underneath the car causing damage. He made it back to the garage in time to get two final laps in the first qualifying session, however he was the first driver that failed to make Q2, setting for 16th. Lance Stroll is yet again knocked out in Q1 finishing the round in 17th, Antonio Giovanazzi was 18th. As Hulkenberg worked his way back to the garage, George Russell spun out in the final chicane as he was about to start his hot lap. The young Williams driver qualified in 19th but after Russell’s spin in FP3 Saturday morning, he needed a gearbox change and will start from the back of the grid as if his car’s pace wouldn’t have done that by itself. Robert Kubica is once more the slowest car/driver on the grid.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas team looks to score an unprecedented fifth consecutive one-two finish on Sunday for the Spanish Grand Prix. Lights out for what looks to be the last race in Barcelona is set for just after 9am EST.