World Champion Lewis Hamilton claimed the 92nd pole position of his Formula 1 career during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
It marked Mercedes eighth successive pole position at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the seventh time in that period that it has locked out the front row of the grid.
Only Mercedes was ever in contention for pole position after dominating practice, displaying the one-lap pace advantage that it has held through the early stages of the delayed 2020 season.
Hamilton eclipsed Bottas through the first Q3 runs in hot and sunny conditions on the outskirts of Barcelona, with his time of 1:15.584 leaving him just 0.059s in front of his team-mate.
Neither driver improved on their second Q3 push laps and that sealed top spot for Hamilton, as he chases a fourth straight victory at the event.
Verstappen the chaser again
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished third in all three practice sessions during the build-up to the session and at the end of Q3 he was again Mercedes’ nearest rival.
Verstappen’s deficit stood at 0.708s – an expected gap due to Mercedes’ sizeable one-lap advantage.
Racing Point demonstrated strong qualifying pace as the returning Sergio Perez claimed fourth, with Lance Stroll fifth.
Alexander Albon again trailed Verstappen but despite a gap of 0.737s he was only three spots down on his team-mate as he headed an ultra-close gaggle of cars.
Only 0.107s covered Albon with the remainder of the Q3 runners: McLaren duo Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Vettel falls in Q2, Renault struggles
Sebastian Vettel’s ongoing struggles continued as he fell in Q2 once more.
However in a tight session he was only two-tenths down on team-mate Leclerc – closer than he was at Silverstone – and just 0.002s away from making Q3.
Renault was another loser in the tight midfield battle as encouraging Friday pace went to nought, with Daniel Ricciardo 13th and Esteban Ocon – whose R.S.20 was repaired after an FP3 crash – slowest in Q2.
Kimi Raikkonen bagged his first Q2 appearance of the season as Alfa Romeo’s C39 avoided being the slowest car over one-lap for the first time in 2020.
Raikkonen used the Medium tyres for his second Q2 push lap and found enough pace to split the Renault drivers.
Haas’ Friday speed disappears
Haas had the fourth-quickest package in Friday practice as an excellent lap hauled a shocked Romain Grosjean into fifth position overall.
But there was no repeat of that performance during qualifying as Haas was eliminated at the first hurdle.
Kevin Magnussen, who was baulked by Daniil Kvyat early in Q1, was 16th, with Grosjean 17th, at a venue where the team has historically been strong.
Williams failed to make it out of Q1 for the first time in five events as George Russell took 18th, a hundredth shy of displacing Grosjean, with rookie Nicholas Latifi 19th.
Antonio Giovinazzi finished slowest of the 20 participants after a mistake exiting the chicane on his first push lap and a so-so effort on his final attempt.
Sunday’s 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix is scheduled for 15:10 local time.
|3||M. Verstappen||Red Bull||1:16.292||0.708|
|4||S. Perez||Racing Point||1:16.482||0.898|
|5||L. Stroll||Racing Point||1:16.589||1.005|
|6||A. Albon||Red Bull||1:17.029||1.445|
|14||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:17.386||1.802|
|20||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:18.697||3.113|