It’s Saturday and the cars have been back on track practising and qualifying for tomorrow’s 2020 Spanish Grand Prix at the sunny Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, in which Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position ahead of Valtteri Bottas in second and Max Verstappen in third. The two Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team drivers were split by just 0.059s in the pole shootout.
The day got off to a relatively quiet start, with just the papaya McLaren F1 Team car of Lando Norris on track ten minutes into Free Practice Three. As the rest of the cars finally started to get some running in, the session shaped up to stage lots of drama. Both Mercedes drivers struggled to conquer the final chicane, with Valtteri Bottas getting very loose on the exit kerb and team-mate Lewis Hamilton experiencing the same troubles shortly after locking the front-left on entry.
All drivers suffered copious amounts of traffic throughout the session, perhaps most notably Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian was barrelling through turn eight when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen obstructed him mid-corner, causing him to slow and subsequently abort his lap; Latifi irately remarked about the hypocrisy of the Dutchman’s driving style and went on his way.
Much more severe, however, was the incident towards the end of the session involving Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon which brought out the red flag. Ocon slowed to let the Dane pass at turn three yet, upon re-approaching The Haas, was blocked whilst checking his mirrors and had to swerve to avoid him when he finally looked back on track. This resulted in the Frenchman losing control of his R.S.20 and careering into the concrete, ending the session prematurely just minutes before it’s scheduled conclusion.
Free Practice Three Timings:
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:17.222||12|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:17.373||+0.151s||13|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:17.737||+0.515s||10|
|4||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:18.046||+0.824s||18|
|5||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:18.096||+0.874s||16|
|6||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:18.193||+0.971s||15|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.211||+0.989s||13|
|8||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:18.309||+1.087s||16|
|9||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:18.371||+1.149s||13|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:18.384||+1.162s||12|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:18.602||+1.380s||18|
|12||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||1:18.707||+1.485s||15|
|13||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||1:18.710||+1.488s||14|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:18.721||+1.499s||11|
|15||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:18.803||+1.581s||23|
|16||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:18.852||+1.630s||15|
|17||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:18.940||1.718s||15|
|18||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:19.175||+1.953s||13|
|19||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:19.297||+2.075s||16|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:19.764||+2.542s||16|
Räikkönen escapes first part of Qualifying for the first time in 2020
After being eliminated in the first part of Qualifying for the last five races, Kimi Räikkönen has finally managed to break his streak of dismal Saturday performances. The Finn has experienced some of the worst Qualifying sessions in his entire F1 career this year but in the first session today he managed to set a lap time good enough for fifteenth, promoting him to the second part of Qualifying. Räikkönen will start tomorrow’s race fourteenth.
His team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi could not replicate the Finn’s fortunes and was eliminated in the first part of Qualifying, ending up last for Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.
Vettel fails to reach final part of Qualifying by two milliseconds
It was a promising Friday for Sebastian Vettel, closing up to his team-mate Charles Leclerc massively in Free Practice One, but the German could not break into the top ten in Qualifying for the sixth time this year. After a new chassis was implemented into his troubling SF1000, Vettel was optimistic that he could make it to the pole-shootout, but after a flurry of mistakes leading up to Campsa corner the four-time World Champion was pushed down by Lando Norris. A dejected Vettel lines up eleventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Leclerc had a mediocre Saturday all things considered. The Monegasque youngster continued his fine form for Ferrari today, breaking into the top ten but only managing to put his car on the fifth row of the grid, starting ninth. He will be hoping to pursue another high points finish on Sunday, succeeding a fourth place finish in last week’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and a handful of podiums at previous races.
Gasly storms to top ten once again
Pierre Gasly has exceeded expectations once more today, reaching Qualifying 3 and putting his AT01 ahead of his team-mate for tomorrow’s starting grid. The Frenchman launched himself all the way up to fifth in the second part of Qualifying and as a result bagged himself a spot in the top ten. He could not beat any of the other nine drivers and managed to secure tenth in the last session of the day, appearing relatively contented in the paddock as he revelled in the glory of his current strong form.
|1||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:16.872||1:16.013||1:15.584||15|
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:17.243||1:16.152||1:15.643||15|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:17.213||1:16.518||1:16.292||15|
|4||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:17.117||1:16.936||1:16.482||15|
|5||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:17.316||1:16.666||1:16.589||15|
|6||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:17.419||1:17.163||1:17.029||18|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:17.438||1:16.876||1:17.044||17|
|8||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:17.577||1:17.166||1:17.084||18|
|9||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:17.256||1:16.953||1:17.087||18|
|10||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:17.356||1:16.800||1:17.136||18|
|11||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||1:17.573||1:17.168||12|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:17.676||1:17.192||12|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:17.667||1:17.198||12|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:17.797||1:17.386||12|
|15||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:17.765||1:17.567||12|
|16||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:17.908||6|
|17||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Haas F1 Team||1:18.089||6|
|18||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:18.099||9|
|19||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:18.532||9|
|20||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:18.697||6|
Even though it’s yet another Mercedes 1-2 for the race on Sunday, it’s set to be a thriller with temperatures soaring sky high in the Spanish summer sun. Verstappen managed to slot his red bull into third in a routinely wonderful Qualifying for the Dutchman, with the two BWT Racing Point F1 Team cars behind him (Sergio Pérez ahead of Lance Stroll). The six-hundred-metre-long run down to turn one is all to play for and the slipstream will no doubt take great effect, leaving the race lead up for grabs on the first lap and setting us up for a thrilling race.
Tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix starts at 14:10 BST and we”ll be covering all the action and drama right here at The Checkered Flag.