Qualy: Bottas takes pole, blitzes track record

Michelle Foster


Valtteri Bottas topped a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying for the Spanish GP, his record breaking 1:15.4 ending Lewis Hamilton’s run of Spanish pole positions.

Qualifying did not get off to the best of starts for Nico Hulkenberg as he went through the gravel and nose first into the barrier.

The Renault driver limped home with his wing under his front tyres.

He qualified down in 16th place, out in Q1 along with Lance Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell – who has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, and Robert Kubica.

Q2 was topped by Bottas, with as as-then new track record of 1:15.924. He led a Mercedes 1-2 while this time it was Charles Leclerc who provided the drama as he shed a small piece of his Ferrari riding the Barcelona kerbs.

He was down in 12th at the end of the session but put in a hot lap to go fourth.

Out went Lando Norris, Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz, Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez.

Heading into Q3, Mercedes were odds on favourites for pole as the last time a non-Mercedes was P1 in qualifying for the Spanish GP was back in 2012 with Pastor Maldonado in the Williams.

While Bottas, with yet another new lap record of 1:15.406, took provisional pole ahead of Hamilton by six-tenths, Leclerc was stuck in the pits as Ferrari made repairs to his damaged floor.

Sebastian Vettel lined up third after the first run, narrowly ahead of Max Verstappen.

Despite putting in a second hot lap, neither Hamilton nor Vettel were able to challenge Bottas, who also could not improve on his previous fastest time.

Bottas took pole ahead of Hamilton and Vettel while Verstappen was fourth ahead of Leclerc. The Monaco driver put in a run of two hot laps at the end but could only manage a 1:16.588.

Pierre Gasly was P6 ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.

1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.406
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.040
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:16.272
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:16.357
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:16.588
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 1:16.708
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:16.911
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:16.922
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:17.5773
10 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:18.106
11 Lando Norris McLaren 1:17.338
12 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso 1:17.445
13 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1:17.599
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:17.788
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:17.886
16 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:18.404
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:18.471
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1:18.664
19 George Russell Williams 1:19.072
20 Robert Kubica Williams 1:20.254

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