Hamilton Leads Silver Arrow Front Row At 2018 F1 Spanish Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton primes himself to extend his championship lead.
Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix ended with Ferrari shedding its sandbags, but to little avail; Mercedes fended off the prancing horse to secure its first front row shutdown of the season, Lewis Hamilton ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Sebastian Vettel again out-qualifies Kimi Räikkönen, both of whom occupy row two. Row three is owned by the two Red Bulls, Max Verstappen differentiating himself from Daniel Ricciardo by 0.002 seconds on super soft tires to Ricciardo's softs.
For the first time since Australia, both Haas drivers succeeded in reaching Q3, both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean keeping the company of a Spaniard at the Catalan in separate rows on the grid. Magnussen shares the fourth row with Fernando Alonso of McLaren, and Grosjean the fifth, with Carlos Sainz Jr. of Renault, who out-qualifies his teammate Nico Hülkenberg for the first time this season.
Hülkenberg exited the pits in Q1 with an apparent transmission problem, his Renault stuttering between gears. The issue was later confirmed by SkySports to be fuel pressure-related, but the cause is a matter for Renault's engineers to resolve. Hülkenberg did all he could do to escape Q1, but he ultimately failed, ending a 59-race streak of Q2 appearances, with his last Q1 knockout coming at this very circuit three seasons past.
Lance Stroll of Williams, who gave his all during Q1, made a sojourn through the gravel, spitting debris at a camera whose lens cracked. He was out-qualified by his teammate Sergey Sirotkin, but Sirotkin's three-place grid penalty means he will start last on the grid, alone in 19th.
Brendon Hartley and Toro Rosso-Honda will seek special dispensation to start the Grand Prix despite not appearing in qualifying, due to Hartley wrecking his car near the end of free practice three earlier on Saturday. Reconstruction of the STR13 could not be completed in time for the Kiwi to compete in qualifying.
- Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes - 1:16.173
- Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes - 1:16.213
- Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari - 1:16.305
- Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari - 1:16.612
- Max Verstappen/Red Bull - 1:16.816
- Daniel Ricciardo/Red Bull - 1:16.818
- Kevin Magnussen/Haas - 1:17.676
- Fernando Alonso/McLaren - 1:17.721
- Carlos Sainz Jr./Renault - 1:17.790
- Romain Grosjean/Haas - 1:17.835
- Stoffel Vandoorne/McLaren - 1:18.323
- Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:18.463
- Esteban Ocon/Force India - 1:18.696
- Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:18.910
- Sergio Perez/Force India - 1:19.098
- Nico Hülkenberg/Renault - 1:18.923
- Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:19.943
- Lance Stroll/Williams - 1:19.695
- Sergey Sirotkin/Williams - 1:19.695 (3 place grid penalty)
- Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda - No time