Lewis Hamilton landed another heavy psychological blow in his championship battle with Nico Rosberg by beating his teammate to pole in Barcelona. Rosberg had a slight edge in the two knockout sessions with Hamilton complaining about the handling of his car but the Briton delivered in Q3 to deny Rosberg by a tenth of a second.
Red Bull looked the closest challengers in Q2 but the ugly pattern of the weekend continued for Sebastian Vettel as unreliability struck again. The world champion lost second gear as he exited the pitlane and was forced to park his RB10 at turn three, bringing the red flags out. Both Mercedes drivers were on timed laps when the session was suspended but with an extra set of option tyres available for Q3, Rosberg was still able to set a 1:25.400 late on. Hamilton though was substantially faster and despite losing time in the final sector, Lewis clocked a 1:25.232 to snatch pole from his teammate.
Daniel Ricciardo salvaged third for Red Bull ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Romain Grosjean who both pulled out heroic efforts to go fourth and fifth. Kimi Raikkonen outqualified home favourite Fernando Alonso but the Ferraris were 1.9 seconds adrift in sixth and seventh while Jenson Button and Felipe Massa were even further back as they rounded out the nine drivers to set a time in Q3, Vettel being classified tenth.
Lotus entered the session in optimistic mood after a strong showing in free practice but the positivity disappeared four minutes into Q1 when Pastor Maldonado lost control of his E22 on the exit of turn three, sliding across the track and into the concrete wall. The Venezuelan will start on the back row of the grid with a pair of Caterhams up ahead, Marcus Ericsson pipping Kamui Kobayashi for 20th. The Marussias start together with Max Chilton recovering from his practice woes to take eighteenth from Jules Bianchi.
Adrian Sutil was the first man eliminated in seventeenth and his Sauber teammate didn’t make it much further as Esteban Gutierrez finished fourteenth, dropping him out in Q2. The Mexican was actually the slowest driver to set a time in the second session with Kevin Magnussen kept in his garage by a power unit problem while Jean-Eric Vergne sat it out due to his ten-place grid penalty. The two Force Indias were the surprise casualties with Nico Hulkenberg eleventh and twelfth with Daniil Kvyat just behind, ensuring both Toro Rossos fell at the second hurdle.
|2014 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPANA PIRELLI – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION|
|1||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||1:25.232|
|2||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||1:25.400|
|3||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||1:26.285|
|4||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:26.632|
|5||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||1:26.960|
|6||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||1:27.104|
|7||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||1:27.140|
|8||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||1:27.335|
|9||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||1:27.402|
|10||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||NO TIME|
|ELIMINATED IN QUALIFYING 2|
|11||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:27.685|
|12||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||1:28.002|
|13||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||1:28.039|
|14||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||1:28.280|
|15||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||NO TIME|
|16||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||NO TIME|
|ELIMINATED IN QUALIFYING 1|
|17||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||1:28.563|
|18||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||1:29.586|
|19||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||1:30.177|
|20||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||1:30.312|
|21||10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||1:30.375|
|107% QUALIFYING TIME: 1:32.837|
|22||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||NO TIME|