Hamilton hits hard and claims pole position

Hamilton hits hard and claims pole position

Vettel will be flanking him on first row. Alonso shoots into a surprise 7th place, his best so far in the season starting grids.

Formula 1

Ferrari is closing in, but Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton still reign over the land of pole position. The Briton amassed his 64th pole position at the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2017, this being the third in this season’s 5 rounds. His stratospheric 1:19.149 time thrashed the previous Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya fastest lap record, set by Mark Webber (1:19.995) in 2010 with the same track layout. Sebastian Vettel beat it earlier today on a 1:19.200 lap, but the Ferrari driver missed out on the opportunity to sit on the front of the grid by only 51 tenths of a second, and will take the start from P2.


Statistically speaking, pole sitters tend to be race winners in Barcelona. At least, this was the case in 19 out of 26 Grand Prix raced here. But the meagre gap between the two Mercedes and the two Ferraris leaves chances open for all four drivers… and even for Max Verstappen (1:19.706). The Dutchman who joined Red Bull last year and earned an unexpected victory in Barcelona in 2016 was the fifth driver under the 1:20 mark. Valtteri Bottas’ silver arrow, on 1:19.373, will share the second row with Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari (fourth, on 1:19.439).

The key for crossing the Catalan finish line ahead of the rest is hidden at the get-go. He who manages to get out of Turn 1 on the lead, will be half-way down in the quest for the top of the podium. The rest will be down to pit stop strategy and tyre management (most likely, a two stop strategy with a soft-medium-soft tyre sequence).

Tension was in the air in the two ruling teams’ garages on the second day of this Grand Prix. Mercedes used up one of the two curfew exceptions of the season in a hectic night, with engineers and mechanics striving to fix Bottas’ car electrical failure. A no-work rule between midnight and 8 am applies to all the teams’ personnel, and only two exceptions can be requested within one season. Bottas’ power unit was eventually replaced by the one he had used in the previous four races, and the Finn was only able to hit the track 8 minutes before the end of Free Practice 3.

Ferrari worked around the clock at the end of FP3 to replace Vettel’s SF70H power unit after a water leak was discovered. They managed to fix it in two hours, just in time for the qualifying session. The German quickly went out to test that everything worked smoothly and, despite a minor early concern, he moved through the Qs unaffected. He was even on the pace for pole and outdid Hamilton in sectors one and two, but the Briton was half a second faster in sector three, when time was up.

Fernando Alonso’s outstanding performance raised the spirits of local fans. For the first time this season, he managed to make the cut into Q3 and then stormed to a miraculous 7th place for McLaren Honda with an impressive 1:21.048 lap. Carlos Sainz missed out on making the top 10 despite having consistently been in that group during the three free practice sessions, and had to settle for 12th place.

Inside and outside the track, the show is on

Motorsport fans are enjoying a festive atmosphere at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with a wealth of activities on offer outside the track as well: music shows, ball de diables -a Catalan folk dance featuring devils and fireworks-, batucada, as well as castells -human towers. Fans can also have their pictures taken standing next to a full-size silhouette of their heroes, or imitate them in a virtual reality simulator located in an exclusive area. Children will enjoy the different rides in the designated Kid’s Zones, put their skills to the test in a go-kart track, and even climb to the podium there.

Track activities will start tomorrow at 9.25 am with the second GP3 race, followed by the FIA Formula 2 (10.35 am) and later the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (11.45 am) events. Three exciting satellite activities preceding the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2017, scheduled for 2 pm.

Tickets for the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2017 are still available on-line at www.circuitcat.com and at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya box offices from 7 am. Doors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 will open tomorrow at 7 am.

Highlights for Formula 1 FP3, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup F2 qualifying practice, and also for the FIA Formula 2, GP3 Series and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup races are available at www.circuitcat.com/es/noticias/formula-1

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