Hamilton Leads Rosberg In Mercedes 1-2 In Catalunya

Lewis Hamilton regained control at the Spanish Grand Prix, fending off a challenge from team-mate Nico Rosberg who topped the morning practice session by 0.8s. Rosberg had taken provisional pole until Hamilton put in a late lap and took his fourth pole position this season by 0.16s. Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest while there were more problems for Vettel who was forced to pull over in Q3.

Esteban Gutierrez was the first man to take to the track during the first Qualifying session and was naturally the first to set a lap. As drivers began to set their first laps, Maldonado spun out of turn 3 and hit the wall, destroying the front right of his car and prompting the red flags to be shown. It was a rookie mistake, and had the Venezuelan let the car spin instead of trying to save the already ruined lap, he would have escaped unscathed. Nonetheless, Lotus face a long night of rebuilding his car.

As the session continued, the back-marker teams were the first to venture into Medium compound territory. As they fought amongst themselves, Mercedes’ two drivers battled each other for the top time. Hamilton was four-tenths behind Rosberg as the session came to an end, but as the times for the top 16 drivers were wiped, it won’t count in the fight for pole. At the very back, Maldonado was 22nd as he failed to set a lap before his lap. He will start 21st, however, as Jean-Eric Vergne qualified 16th but incurred a ten-place grid penalty for a loose wheel on Friday. Kamui Kobayashi was uncharacteristically far down the order in 21st, behind team-mate Marcus Ericsson and the Marussia duo of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton. Adrian Sutil was the last man to miss the second session, four tenths shy of Vergne in sixteenth.

Q2 saw two drivers failing to set a lap: Kevin Magnussen suffered from a power unit failure which blighted him in Q1 and he qualified fifteenth, while Vergne opted not to waste a set of tyres as his penalty would move him back to the back regardless. Back up the front, Massa led Bottas in the timesheets briefly before Raikkonen came round and bumped them down the order. Both drivers survived the cut-off point, while Fernando Alonso came very close to dropping out in Q2, his fate hanging in the balance as Perez looked to set a faster lap. Eventually Perez pitted and Alonso lived to fight another session. Hulkenberg was the first man to miss the drop out zone ahead of the aforementioned Perez and Daniil Kvyat in thirteenth. Esteban Gutierrez was fourteenth for Sauber ahead of Magnussen and Vergne.

In Q3, Rosberg and Hamilton were on their flying laps when a second red flag interrupted their fastest laps. The cause of the stoppage was Sebastian Vettel who had pulled over at turn 2 with a myriad of lights highlighting an issue on his dashboard. Crucially the Mercedes drivers had taken some life out of their tyres ahead of the race tomorrow.

With the Red Bull cleanly out of the way and Vettel back in the garage, Qualifying resumed. Hamilton was the first to set a lap and set a lap which was not beaten by Nico Rosberg the following lap. Daniel Ricciardo crossed the line in third with Alonso taking provisional fourth in front of his home crowd. Kimi Raikkonen threw his unstable car around the track and beat Alonso to fourth. Rosberg took provisional pole for a split second before Hamilton crossed the line to take pole by .15s. Valtteri Bottas incredibly took fourth, ahead of an equally impressive performance from Grosjean who stuck his car on fifth in the grid. Raikkonen and Alonso settled for sixth and seventh with Jenson Button eighth, Felipe Massa ninth and Vettel in tenth without a lap time.

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Daniel Ricciardo
  4. Valtteri Bottas
  5. Romain Grosjean
  6. Kimi Raikkonen
  7. Fernando Alonso
  8. Jenson Button
  9. Felipe Massa
  10. Sebastian Vettel
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Sergio Perez
  13. Daniil Kvyat
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Kevin Magnussen
  16. Adrian Sutil
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Marcus Ericsson
  20. Kamui Kobayashi
  21. Pastor Maldonado (NT)
  22. Jean-Eric Vergne*
    *including a ten place penalty.

Image courtesy Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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1 Comment

Filed under F1, Qualifying Report

One response to “Hamilton Leads Rosberg In Mercedes 1-2 In Catalunya

  1. Pingback: Vettel Handed Five-Place Grid Penalty | Ben Sweeney's F1 Blog

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