Lewis Hamilton continues writing history in modern Formula 1. Today, he went one step further in his record box at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The reigning World Champion added another pole position, and has already 100 qualifying fast laps in his account. The German squad has also reasons to show off, as they have been taking the pole positions in Catalonia nonstop since 2013.
The FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2021 promises to be more than exciting, as it became evident today, during the qualifying session. Putting the top three aside, there have been up to five drivers within less than two tenths of a second. Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas were the only ones to drive faster than one minute and seventeen seconds. To be precise, the reference mark of the British driver was 1:16.741.
However, Hamilton’s pole number 100, has been in danger. The Dutch Red Bull driver finished only 36 thousandths of a second behind him. Max Verstappen continues strengthening his position as the alternative to the Mercedes machines, as he is the only driver capable of giving them a hard time. Although the result is good in itself, it is also the first time that Verstappen will start from the front row of the grid at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Charles Leclerc was the first of a group in which positions were swapped nonstop. Ferrari, with their fourth fastest time and the sixth place by Carlos Sainz, are strengthening their position as the third strongest team, only behind Mercedes and one of the Red Bull drivers. The Spanish driver managed even to be on fourth position during Q2 and showed himself quite satisfied with the result. “It’s been a good lap, although we’ll see tomorrow how the car behaves, since Sunday is usually the day in which we suffer most”, Sainz declared to the media.
In between the two Ferrari machines was Esteban Ocon. With his result, the Frenchman gave Alpine the best qualifying result so far this year. Team-mate Fernando Alonso was also among the fastest until the end. The two-times world champion claimed the tenth fastest time, as he was not able to improve his best in Q3 during the second stint. This is something that happened to almost everyone in Q3. The first stint was the fastest and then, due to the wind, they were not able to improve as expected. Except for Esteban Ocon and Checo Perez, who classified in eight position, no other participant was able to clock a faster time.
On the other hand, McLaren seemed to be strong in Q1 and Q2. Lando Norris had a strong pace and it seemed that he would be able to have a good finish. Eventually, Daniel Ricardo was the best classified of the Woking-based squad, with his seventh position. Norris finished ninth and will share the row on the starting grid tomorrow with Fernando Alonso.
Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) and George Russell (Williams) dropped off in Q2, and will be starting from 11th to 15th position. The drivers who did not make it further than Q1 were Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo), Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Nikita Mazepin (Haas).
Maximum equality in F3
A day of strong emotions in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. The combination of elements this series offers, provided for exciting and tight races from start to finish. The new qualifying format did also contribute to provide for opportunities to the most diverse drivers.
One of the participants who made good use of every second was Alexander Smolyar. The ART Grand Prix driver qualified eleventh yesterday but in a grid set-up in reverse order he started today from second, next to Jonny Edgar (Carlin Buzz Racing). Smolyar took the lead at the beginning of the first race and did not let go from it. On the other hand, Edgar saw some of his mates overtaking him, and himself falling back to fifth. Clement Novalak (Trident), who started from sixth, covered 21 laps of consistent work to move up to the second position of the podium. Caio Collet (MP Motorsport) stepped onto the third step, keeping his starting position. Yersterday’s poleman, Dennis Hauger, also managed to improve his initial twelfth position, to finish eighth.
The second race, was completely crazy. David Schumacher (Trident) and Enzo Fittipaldi (Charouz Racing System) touched in the first chicane and handed the first and second position over to Matteo Nannini (HWA Racelab) and Dennis Hauger (Prema Racing). These two drivers ended-up in a similar situation, in the same section, a couple of laps later. Eventually, Olli Caldwell (Prema Racing), Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) and Frederik Vesti (ART Grand Prix) completed the podium of one of the most surprising races which has now led to extremely interesting overall standings.
Victory for Gregoire Saucy in Formula Regional by Alpine
And if the level was quite even in Formula 3, something similar happened in the single race of Formula Regional by Alpine, which was rather rugged, but finally won by Gregoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix).
The Safety Car had to be deployed twice. In fact, the race was finished behind it. In the first lap, several accidents in different sections of the track caused the intervention of the Safety Car. One of them was a hit by one of the local competitors, David Vidales, who was the best positioned of the Spanish representatives. Vidales had to quit the race only a few meters after the start.
The drivers completed almost half of the race behind the Safety Car, while the marshals of the Circuit worked hard in order to put all protection devices around the track perfectly back into place after the several run-offs. After the race pace was recovered, Saucy continued to lead the classification. Rookie Gabriele Mini (ART Grand Prix) managed to finish second after overtaking Alex Quinn (Arden), who finally settled for third.
With Vidales out of combat, the best position of the Spanish drivers went to Mari Boya (Van Amersfoort Racing). Boya finished in an excellent fifth position. Lorenzo Fluxá (Van Amersfoort Racing) took the chequered flag in fourteenth position. Brad Benavides chased him for a few laps, and finally finished fifteenth. The Catalan female representative Belén García follows in the local classification, on twenty-seventh position.
The grand finale, tomorrow, at the Circuit
The FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2021 will stage the fourth race of the World Championship season at 3 PM. But before, the support championships will be warming up the atmosphere with their respective races. Formula Regional by Alpine will stage its second race of the weekend at 10.40 AM, while Formula 3 will have its third at 12.05 PM.
Tomorrow, a whole 1,000 Circuit Members will have the chance to watch all of this activity on site, from the Main Grandstand. To this end, the Circuit will guarantee all possible safety measures to have an event that will be an example of safe sport.
Conscience, commitment and coherence with the environment
The FORMULA 1 ARAMCO GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2021 is not only engines. The Circuit is also committed to the philosophy of the 3C management for sustainability, integrating the social, economic and environmental components. And this is done with conscience, commitment and coherence, by means of a wide range of actions.
These include the use of 100% renewable energy, food donations, the use of 0km catering products, waste management, sustainable forestry in the surroundings of the Circuit, and the use of circular economy to fund it by means of other sustainable actions, among many others.