Russian Grand Prix victor Valtteri Bottas and teammate to Vettel, Raikkonen complete the second row of the grid with the two Red Bull’s of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who are still struggling to make significant gains on the top two manufacturers, locked out row three.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have stressed that it will be the little things that determine the destiny of the 2017 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
The three-time world champion bounced back from his puzzlingly poor form in last month’s Russian Grand Prix to outpace the championship leading Ferrari driver by 0.05 seconds in a dramatic finale.
Mercedes brought major aerodynamic upgrades to Barcelona and have been attempting to bring the weight of their vehicle down to improve balance and tyre wear, while also using a new engine upgraded for reliability. Hamilton went out and did just that, although it seems the two rival teams are neck and neck once again. The auto is very nervous this weekend, and we were unable to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, “he said”.
“Positioning can help a lot and being on the clear side of the grid is usually an advantage so hopefully I can utilise that in comparison to Sebastian”.
“We could have had pole position today”.
Despite there being only two hours between FP3 and Q1, Vettel was the first driver to take to the Barcelona circuit in qualifying.
“Unbelievable, they did an engine change in under two hours”. But having missed a suitable parking spot, Vettel queried over team radio “are you sure?”. There were fears the auto had a further issue but he opted to stay out and no further problems materialised.
“The team have brought a really great package here”, he said. I ran wide already in Turn 1, but I managed to get out of it and I was still fast. “I just didn’t have the vehicle to do it, but I know the guys at the factory have been working 24/7 since then to try and overcome an potential future issues”. Today we could extract it, and there was maybe a tiny bit more.
“I need a flawless start, simple as that”.
Alonso rescued another weekend of turmoil for McLaren with a masterful lap of his home circuit to bully his underpowered auto into the top 10.
Bottas described his performance as “not good enough”, but it was enough to confine the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to fourth.
Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, who became Formula One’s youngest victor in Spain a year ago after Hamilton and then team mate and 2016 champion Nico Rosberg collided at the start, will line up fifth for Red Bull.