Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by just under six hundredths of a second to claim pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took third place ahead of the the Racing Point cars of Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll.
Hamilton led the way in Q1 thanks to an early lap of 1:17.037. That put him less than a tenth of a second ahead of Pérez, with the Mexican’s team-mate Lance Stroll third ahead of Bottas. The final runs saw Hamilton improve to a segment-best time of 1:16.872, while Verstappen rose to P3 behind Pérez thanks to a lap of 1:17.213.
At the lower end of the timesheet, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen made a late jump out of the danger zone to P15, though team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi dropped to the bottom of the order and he was eliminated along with 16th-placed Kevin Magnussen, his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean and the Williams cars of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
Hamilton was again quickest in the opening runs of Q2, with the championship leader posting a lap of 1:16.013 in the first run of the session. That left Bottas in second place ahead of Verstappen whose opening lap left him half a second adrift of the champion.
Ahead of the final runs, 11th-placed Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari was joined in the drop zone by Renault’s Esteban Ocon, AlphaTauri drivers Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, and by 15th-placed Räikkönen.
And at the end of the session, Gasly was the only one to make it to safety. The Frenchman put in a good performance to jump to fifth place at the flag. His rise, along with other improvements in the top 10 meant that Daniel Ricciardo fell to 13thplace behind Kvyat but ahead of Räikkönen and Ocon.
Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen elected to remain in their garages during the final runs and they made up the top three ahead of Stroll, Gasly, Sainz, Perez and Leclerc. Alex Albon, meanwhile, went through in P9 ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Hamilton continued to set the pace in the opening runs of Q3. The defending champion posted an opening lap of 1:15.584 to go 0.176 quicker than Bottas. Verstappen took a provisional P3 with his opening lap of 1:16.292 – almost three tenths clear of fourth-placed Pérez.
And Hamilton’s opener ended up being good to secure his 92nd career pole just five hundredths of a second ahead of Bottas. Verstappen held third place just under two tenths ahead of Pérez and Stroll. Albon jumped from P8 to seal P6 with a time of 1:17.029 to finish ahead of Sainz, Norris, Leclerc and Gasly.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.584 6 221.713
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.643 0.059 6 221.540
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:16.292 0.708 6 219.656
4 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:16.482 0.898 6 219.110
5 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:16.589 1.005 6 218.804
6 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:17.029 1.445 6 217.554
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren/Renault 1:17.044 1.460 6 217.512
8 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:17.084 1.500 6 217.399
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:17.087 1.503 6 217.390
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:17.136 1.552 6 217.252
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.168 1.155 6 217.162
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:17.192 1.179 6 217.095
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:17.198 1.185 6 217.078
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:17.386 1.373 6 216.550
15 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:17.567 1.554 6 216.045
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:17.908 1.036 6 215.099
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:18.089 1.217 6 214.601
18 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:18.099 1.227 9 214.573
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:18.532 1.660 9 213.390
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:18.697 1.825 6 212.943