Taking pole for the Spanish Grand Prix was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His fast lap of 1:16.173 set a new all-time track record at Barcelona and was a scant .04 of a second better than runner-up and teammate, Valtteri Bottas. It was Hamilton’s 74th career Formula One pole, his second this season and his fourth at Barcelona, which includes a run of three straight.
We catch up with the Italian engined teams at Barcelona:
Haas F1 Team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean earned strong starting positions for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix by advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying Saturday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The duo qualified seventh and 10th, respectively, as the American squad placed both its drivers into Q3 for only the third time in team history but second time this year.
Magnussen ran 15 laps and set the sixth-fastest time with a 1:18.357 on his 13th tour. Grosjean tallied 16 laps and earned his best time on his 14th lap – a 1:18.706 that put him directly behind his teammate in seventh.
Romain Grosjean: “Pretty good qualifying for the team – both cars in the top-10. Obviously, Q3 could’ve been better and I’m not super happy to start P10 but, in general, I think we’re in a good position for the race and I’m happy for the team”
Kevin Magnussen: “It was a really good qualifying. P7 for us is really pole position – it’s the best you can hope for if you’re not in a Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull. I’m really happy with that. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and, hopefully, we can bring home some good points. It’s a good position to start, and again, P7 is probably the best we can hope for if everyone finishes. It’s still a very tight battle, but I think our car is strong, and we can be happy with where we are at the moment. We need to keep up the levels, continue to develop, and keep putting stuff on the car.”
Alfa Romeo SauberF1;
The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team had a successfull qualifying ahead of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 Emirates Spanish Grand Prix. The C37 proved to be strong on the demanding Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and both drivers worked well. Charles Leclerc successfully finished in Q2 for the second time in a row, qualifying 14th, while Marcus Ericsson struggled a a little with the softer compound and finished in P17, but overall is confident in his pace and ability to gain positions in the race.
Marcus Ericsson: “It was a disappointing qualifying for me. I was struggling with the balance and the car didn’t feel so good. It is a shame to finish qualifying in Q1, as we have been quite competitive this weekend. At the same time, that is a positive, and we should be able to recover some positions during tomorrow’ race. Let’s see what is possible tomorrow.”
Charles Leclerc: “It was a positive day for us, having extracted a stronger performance here in Barcelona than we had expected. We made some good steps forward during FP3. I did my best to put everything we have learned this weekend together, and completed a good lap during Q1. It feels amazing to have made it into Q2 for the second time in a row, especially considering that we did not arrive with high expectations on this type of track layout. I am very pleased about the progress we have made. Now we must focus on the race and make the most out of it tomorrow. Hopefully, we will take some positive results home
Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen occupying third and fourth slot on the grid respectively. After making the cut into Q3 with Soft tyres, which are less prone to degradation in the race, both opted for the same compound (classified as Option, versus the “Quali” Supersoft) for their final run in Q3-a choice also made by other drivers today.
Sebastian Vettel: “Overall, I think it was a smooth session”, said Seb. “The car was fine and we didn’t have much to do. We were quite ok this morning, trying to find the right direction. It was straightforward in qualifying and then in Q3 during my first run I locked up a little bit in Turn 1, so my first sector was already slow. I tried to recover and fight for pole, but it was not enough. I didn’t have a great feeling on the tires, which have been different the whole weekend. Even if they look the same, they are harder. However, it’s the same for everyone. Obviously, I am not entirely happy, but we expected Mercedes to be very strong here. P3 is not a bad place to start from. Tomorrow we’ll focus on the start first, and then we’ll see. It will be a long race and the tires will be challenging, too. Even if the start doesn’t go in our favor, I think we always have a strong car to keep fighting. I think tomorrow it will be an interesting race and we’ll be close; the same as happened in the last couple of races. I’m looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix and hope the people will enjoy it.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a tricky qualifying, not the ideal one”, was Kimi’s comment. “In Q3, on my first attempt with the Supersofts, I made a mistake in turn 1 and went wide; obviously this affected my lap. At that point, I was in a position where I had nothing to lose, so we decided to try something else. The Soft tires felt pretty good in Q2 so we decided to use them in my last run. In the end we managed to do a decent job, but obviously we are not satisfied with the result. It’s difficult to predict what will happen in the race and it’s a bit of an unknown for me, considering I couldn’t do the long runs yesterday. We’ll try to make a good start and see how the race pans out”.