Spanish GP 2019
MAY 11, 2019
Qualifying Report - The slammer
By Dan Knutson in Barcelona
Valtteri Bottas slammed in a lap that was six-tenths of a second faster than his closest opposition in the final qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix. So the Mercedes driver earned his third consecutive pole position of the 2019 season.
“The season started well,” he said. “I feel better and better in the car.”
The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Bottas; Ferrari – Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc; Red Bull TAG Heuer –Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly; Renault – Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg; Haas Ferrari – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; McLaren Renault – Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris; Racing Point Mercedes – Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll; Alfa Romeo Ferrari – Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi; Toro Rosso Honda – Daniil Kvyat and Alexander Albon; Williams Mercedes – George Russell and Robert Kubica.
Hamilton took the honors in FP3 earlier in the day, and his time of 1:16.568 was a full half second quicker than runner up Leclerc.
The ambient temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Centigrade).
First out in the 18-minute Q1 was Kubica.
Hulkenberg slid of the track and hit the barriers at Turn 4 but was able to keep going.
Leclerc set the early target with a time of 1:17.835.
Midway through Q1 Verstappen shot to the front with his 1:17.244. Soon thereafter Bottas clocked a 1:17.175 and Hamilton a 1:17.423.
The Haas cars were flying, and with five minutes remaining, Magnussen snatched sixth. Meanwhile, Perez sas 15th and on the cutoff line, with Stroll 16th and Giovinazzi 14th.
Hulkenberg, now with a new front wing, was last but now on a flying lap with three minutes to go. He got 15th, so pushed Perez down.
But a number of drivers were on track in the final minutes including Raikkonen and Perez who moved into the top 15 and thus relegated Hulkenberg out of the group moving on to Q2.
The five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Hulkenberg, Stroll, Giovinazzi, Russell and Kubica.
The fastest 15 drivers who moved on to Q2 were: Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc, Vettel, Norris, Magnussen, Sainz, Albon, Gasly, Kvyat, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Perez and Ricciardo.
Bottas, Hamilton, Leclerc and Vettel got things rolling in the 15-minute Q2. All four were on Pirelli’s soft compound slicks.
Bottas laid down a 1:16.269. Hamilton beat that with a 1:16.038. Vettel went third at 1:16.667 and Leclerc fourth with his 1:17.511. Verstappen soon replaced Leclerc in that spot.
Magnussen continued his fine run from Q1 by getting sixth in Q2. It did not last long however, as Gasly and Grosjean got ahead of him.
With five minutes remaining, Ricciardo was on the bubble in tenth, with Albon 11th and Sainz ninth.
Just under three minutes to go in Q2 saw a number of drivers – all but the Ferrari duo – head back out on track.
When the runs were done, the five drivers who were eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Norris, Albon, Sainz, Raikkonen and Perez.
The fastest 10 drivers who moved on to Q3 were: Bottas, Hamilton, Leclerc, Vettel, Verstappen, Gasly, Grosjean, Kvyat, Magnussen and Ricciardo.
Hamilton got out first in Q3. Others followed him, but Leclerc remained in the garage as the mechanics worked on his Ferrari.
After Hamilton made a mistake on his lap and turned a 1:16.040, Bottas slammed in a 1:15.406. Vettel’s 1:16.272 put him third.
So, with less than five minutes to go, the order was: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Gasly, Grosjean, Magnussen, Kvyat and Ricciardo.
Leclerc finally went out, and he moved up to fifth.
And now the others were out for their final runs.
Bottas led the group. He could not improve on his previous time. Neither could Vettel or Hamilton or Leclerc.
The top 10 qualifiers were: Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Gasly, Grosjean, Magnussen, Kvyat and Ricciardo.