Formula 1 is here again, this time the team’s arrive in Barcelona, a Circuit the team’s visit regularly for testing.
The big question would be whether Ferrari would grab pole after missing out at the previous race to rivals MercedesAMG. Certainly there was very little desperate the four drivers in the two teams. As it turned out, sweeping all of the top spots in each round of qualifying to take the pole for the Spanish Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:19.149 set a new track qualifying record and was .051 of a second better than runner-up Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari. The previous track qualifying record was 1:19.995 set by Mark Webber in his Red Bull during qualifying for the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix. Hamilton beat that time by .846 of second. The pole is the 64th of Hamilton’s Formula One career, his second this season and his third at Barcelona.
Previous GP winner Bottas starts 3rd behind the Ferrari of Vettel with the Scuderia’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen alongside him in fourth.
Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean qualified 11th and 14th, respectively.
Grosjean set the seventh-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:21.822 around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit. Magnussen was 10th quickest with a lap of 1:21.945. Only the top-15 drivers move on to Q2, and it marked the first time this season both Haas F1 Team pilots advanced to the second round.
In Q2, Magnussen earned the 11th fastest time with a lap of 1:21.329, just missing the cutoff spot for Q3 by .078 of a second. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 advance to Q3. Grosjean was 14th quickest in Q2 with a time of 1:21.517. A lockup in the last chicane on his final flying lap prevented Grosjean from improving his time.
Both Magnussen and Grosjean ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire throughout qualifying.
Before Magnussen, Grosjean and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track. Each driver ran all three tire compounds available from Pirelli this weekend – Orange hard, White medium and Yellow soft. Grosjean ended up 11th quick with a 1:22.128 earned on his 15th lap and Magnussen followed right behind in 12th with a 1:22.214 secured on his 11th tour. Each driver nabbed their fastest laps on Yellow softs. Grosjean tallied 21 laps in FP3 and Magnussen logged 12 laps.
Quickest in FP3 was Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen, whose fast lap of 1:20.214 was .242 of a second better than his nearest pursuer and teammate Vettel. Force India’s Esteban Ocon ran the most laps (22).