Hamilton’s pole time of 1:22.000 was 2.681 seconds faster than last year’s pole position. “I could see on my data where I was losing, so I had to try and figure it out on track, and it is so satisfying to attack that obstacle and get through it. It’s three poles from three for me when I’ve been able to do the laps in qualifying. I haven’t had a proper race with Nico (Rosberg) yet this year so I am hoping that will start in the race. It’s very hard to overtake here, so strategy is important, as is looking after the tyres: the forces round this circuit means it just eats the tyres up, so you need to get that balance just right and see it through to the finish,” Hamilton remarked.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo took up the lead in the second row, ahead of team mate Max Verstappen, who’d switched to the Red Bull Racing squad from the sister squad. Both Red Bulls upstaged the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastien Vettel. “I’m happy for both of us (Max and I) to be in front of the Ferraris. It took a bit of time to come together, but in Q3 I knew I had one lap and knew I had the pace and where I could do it; it was about putting it all together, but Q3 is what counts and I did it,” Ricciardo said.
Ferrari had to settle for a third row on the grid; Raikkonen was fifth fastest in 1.23.113, and 0. 221 thousandths of a second behind him in sixth was team-mate.
Valtteri Bottas led the way for Williams in row four followed by Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainx, while Force India’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Fernando ALonso share row five. Bottas was hoping for a better qualifying but the Red Bulls and Ferraris were simply out of his league. Team mate Felipe Massa didn’t get past Q1 as time ran out before he could run a hot lap. Williams is targeting a top five finish in the race.
Perez, having managed to put his Force India in ninth, had the potential to improve his lap times in Q3, however the top five were simply too fast. The Force India car were just a few tenths away from position six through eightb. Meanwhile, Alonso managed to squeeze his McLaren into the top ten, while team mate Jenson Button slugged it out to end up 12th. Alonso’s qualifying position for the Spanish GP is the team’s best qualifying result since the reformation of the McLaren-Honda partnership at the beginning of last year.
2016 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying Q3
1 LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES 1:22.000
2 NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES 1:22.280
3 DANIEL RICCIARDO RBR 1:22.680
4 MAX VERSTAPPEN RBR 1:23.087
5 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN FERRARI 1:23.113
6 SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI 1:23.334
7 VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS 1:23.522
8 CARLOS SAINZ TORO ROSSO 1:23.643
9 SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA 1:23.782
10 FERNANDO ALONSO MCLAREN 1:23.981