Spanish GP 2017
MAY 13, 2017
Qualifying Report - Edged out
By Dan Knutson in Barcelona
Lewis Hamilton edged out Sebastian Vettel to win the pole for the Spanish Grand Prix. It was close, with the Mercedes driver turning a lap time just 0.051 of a second than the Ferrari driver, but it was enough to earn Hamilton the 64th pole of his Formula 1 career.
Fernando Alonso earned special praise for hauling the McLaren up to seventh place on the grid.
The ambient temperature at the start of qualifying was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Centigrade).
The lineup for the weekend was: Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Red Bull TAG Heuer Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Ferrari Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Force India Mercedes Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon; Williams Mercedes Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll; McLaren Honda Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Renault Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer; Toro Rosso Renault Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz; Haas Ferrari Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber Ferrari Marcus Ericsson and Antonio Giovinazzi.
During the lunch break Vettel's car needed a new engine fitted after a water leak was discovered in the one he used in FP3. He immediately got out for the 18-minute session, but the team radioed him to stop the car now. "Are you sure?" he asked. They then told him to try to reach the pits.
Meanwhile, Grosjean had a quick spin at Turn 13.
Ferrari told Vettel to change some settings, and the next thing he did was set the fastest lap with a 1:20.939.
Bottas slid in behind Vettel with a 1:20.991 while Hamilton took over the lead with a 1:20.511.
Everybody was using the soft compound Pirelli tires including Verstappen and Ricciardo who took fourth and fifth.
Then Raikkonen, fastest in FP3, took over fourth with a 1:21.120.
After the first round of runs, Vandoorne was 15th and on the bubble with Ericsson 14th and Grosjean 16th.
Then Raikkonen improved to second with a 1:20.742. Grosjean jumped up to seventh. Magnussen went from 19th to eighth. More changes were coming as everybody but the top few drivers were on track, and the track was getting faster.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Ericsson, Palmer, Stroll, Vandoorne and Kvyat.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Ocon, Sainz, Magnussen, Perez, Alonso, Hulkenberg, Massa and Wehrlein.
The soft compound would again be the choice tire in Q2.
Bottas was the first out followed by his teammate. They were on the tires that they would also use in the first stint of the race.
Hamilton clocked a 1:20.218, and Raikkonen a 1:20.621 as Bottas put in a slow lap and tried again when he got a 1:20.300.
Vettel's run yielded a 1:20.295 which put him second ahead of Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Sainz.
Alonso was 10th and on the cutoff line surrounded by Haas drivers with Magnussen ninth and Grosjean 11th.
With four minutes remaining, all 15 drivers were in the pits. Then those not in the top six of the order started to filter out onto the track.
Alonso jumped to eighth and Ocon to seventh, but things didn't stay that way.
When it was over, the five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Magnussen, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Wehrlein.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Ocon, Massa, Perez and Alonso.
The top-10 shootout Q3 lasted 12 minutes.
Bottas turned a 1:19.390, Hamilton a 1:19.149, Raikkonen a 1:19.439 and Vettel a 1:19.661.
As usual, Verstappen and Ricciardo were fifth and sixth.
The other four drivers did not make an initial run. All 10 were in the pits with just over four minutes remaining in the session.
Alonso was the first to break the silence.
In the fight for the pole, Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen were out as well and in that order.
Hamilton did not improve but kept the pole as Vettel grabbed second, Bottas third and Raikkonen fourth.
Verstappen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Perez, Massa and Ocon rounded out the top 10.