Buenas tardes amigos!
After what felt like a somewhat tedious wait we are finally here in beautiful Barcelona to get qualifying under way.
Mark Webber has made an appearance in the paddock and graced as all with his chiselled cheekbones. The man is the Australian prince of F1 and Fernando Alonso’s biggest fan. Ultimate bromance.
The first session of qualifying gets off to a fairly average start. The Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg quickly make their way onto the front row with the Williams of Massa and Bottas close behind. Not a great start was had by Ferrari with Vettel locking up and going AWOL and Kimi encountering traffic and lacking rear grip.
Button and Alonso both manage to get their McLaren Honda’s over the line in 6th and 5th respectively, obviously owing to the 2kg paint job improvement. Excellent consumer information: when picking out the paint job for your car consider the weight of metallic flakes. It may look oh so awesome and shiny but it weighs a fucking tonne in F1 terms.
It’s at this point in Q1 that chaos ensues (which I’m obviously kind of stoked about) with Raikkonen putting his Ferrari neatly into second, Vettel following into third until Rosberg charges in to steal the second. Then the stampede of cars crosses the line and mixes shit up. Suddenly we have Sainz Toro Rosso in 4th, Massa in 5th, Bottas 6th, Lotus gets both driver across the line with Maldonado 7th and Grosjean in 8th, Verstappen’s Toro Rosso takes 9th pushing Vettel’s Ferrari into 10th place.
This surprising kerfuffle is rounded out by Ricciardo in the Reb Bull taking 11th, Nasr and his Sauber in 12th, the McLaren in Button in 13th followed by Kyvat’s Red Bull in 14th and home grown hero Alonso 15th.
Commentating legends Crofty, Brundle and Kravitz raise the question: “Is Kimi Raikkonen being treat like the ‘number two’ driver at Ferrari?” This is due to Seb getting access to all the new parts and modifications during qualifying and Kimi being put onto a set of medium tyres that he would have preferred to keep for not only Q3 but also the race. The medium compound will be the preferred tyre for the race. Time will tell how this all plays out for Raikkonen.
After much chit-chat by the delightful British commentators we are ready for the second session.
Hamilton, both the Ferraris and Bottas all put in solid flying laps lining themselves up into the top spots surprising absolutely no one right up until Nico “hundreths-of-a-second-lesser-loved-child” Rosberg romps it into first! Well done you! That sounds condescending. Moving along…
Verstappen puts himself into 6th and wedges himself between Bottas and Massa with Sainz managing 8th followed by the Red Bull racers of Ricciardo in 9th and Kyvat in 10th. There’s a brief break in the running of Q2 with the Ferrari and Mercedes teams deciding that’s quite enough of this qualifying business and just leave their cars to chill in the pits and run down the clock. That decision sort of backfires when Massa goes out and takes 4th from Vettel. Sainz moves himself into 8th behind his team mate.
Poor Fernando. No Q3 for his home race but yay for Sainz the Spaniard!
Onto the last round of qualifying and the business end of things. This is where shit got real. Bottas goes W I D E and Raikkonen does a crap time on used tires. They still manage 4th and 5th respectively behind Vettel. Comeback kid Rosberg one again flips the proverbial bird to Hamilton and nails his first flying lap with a 1.24.6. At this point we’ve have Sainz AND Verstappen squeeze Raikkonen out and down into 7th leaving 8th to Kvyat, 9th to Massa and 10th to Ricciardo.
Hamilton attempts to steal away with pole but he can’t get it done. Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix! Lewis is probably not feeling so #blessed right about now.
So that wraps up qualifying. The Spanish GP is going to kick off with the line-up looking like this:
Predictions for tomorrow? Mad battle between Rosberg and Lewis for the win. There is potential for the Mercedes to get caught up in their own scraps allowing the Williams and Ferraris to bridge the gap. That being said I am not counting the Toro Rosso lads out as they’ve proven that they are here to throw down. It should be good! Tune in tomorrow for the live blog.
Honourable mention goes to Daniil Kyvat for out qualifying his team mate for the first time (my Australian citizenship may be revoked for saying that).