Verstappen takes pole while main rivals falter
Another race, another Max Verstappen and Red Bull pole position, as the reigning World Champion took his 24th pole in Barcelona overnight.
The Championship leader was dominant in the session, taking pole from hometown hero Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari by nearly half a second.
However as dominant as Verstappen was in the session, there was still drama aplenty behind him. Rain at the beginning of Q1 made for tricky conditions and saw a red flag due to gravel on the track after several cars spun off due to the slippery surface.
(Photo by The Straits Times)
This led to a frantic conclusion of the session, with the biggest casualty being the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc who missed out on making Q2 and will start in a lowly 19th place on the grid.
Q2 saw more drama, as both Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez and the Mercedes of George Russell were both eliminated.
It also saw an even more bizarre incident between the two Mercedes drivers on the main straight, with Russell colliding with Lewis Hamilton as the pair tried to navigate around four different cars.
Hamilton was left to fly the flag for Mercedes in Q3, where he was able to set the fifth fastest time, 0.546 seconds of Verstappen’s pole.
Lando Norris looks in strong form in Spain as he qualified an impressive third in his McLaren. Aussie teammate Oscar Piastri will start tenth.
Alpine also continue their strong form from last weekend, with Pierre Gasly in fourth and Esteban Ocon in seventh.
Aston Martin weren’t quite up the front as much as they’ve been used to, with home favourite Fernando Alonso overcoming some minor damage to his car to start ninth on the grid, while Lance Stroll out qualified Alonso for the first ever time and will line up sixth.
The other top ten starter will be Nico Hulkenberg for Haas, who did a stellar job to get into Q3.
All eyes will once again be on Verstappen tonight for the Spanish Grand Prix as Red Bull aim to become only the second ever team in F1 history to win the opening seven rounds of a Formula 1 season.
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:12.272 2 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.462 3 Lando NORRIS McLaren +0.520 4 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.544 5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.546 6 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.722 7 Esteban OCON Alpine +0.811 8 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +0.957 9 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +1.235 10 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +1.410 11 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing 1:13.334 12 George RUSSELL Mercedes 1:13.447 13 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo 1:13.521 14 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri 1:14.083 15 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri 1:14.477 16 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo 1:13.977 17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team 1:14.042 18 Alexander ALBON Williams 1:14.063 19 Charles LECLERC Ferrari 1:14.079 20 Logan SARGEANT Williams 1:14.699
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here