Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso shake off qualifying mistakes


Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both said they felt mistakes prevented them from joining Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the front row for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Both drivers made mistakes at Turn 10 in their final qualifying laps that they said prevented them from beating Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz into second.

Hamilton, who said he was “really very happy” with the upgraded Mercedes, starts fourth.

Alonso said he could have been second even after damaging the floor of his car in an off-track moment, but then ran on his final lap when he was on course for a year good enough for second.

The two-time champion said he was “disappointed” with his own performance.

Alonso will start eighth – both men moved up a place because Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, who qualified fourth fastest, was hit with two three-place penalties for obstructing Verstappen and Sainz in separate incidents.

Verstappen on Spanish pole after dramatic qualifying
Qualifying Spanish Grand Prix as it happened
Hamilton said: “Fighting for P2 was a big surprise. We did a great job overnight and the car felt much better this morning.

“So these upgrades have definitely worked a big thank you to everyone at home. Encouraging.

“If I was fighting for a championship, maybe I’d be a bit more disappointed that I lost 0.2 seconds at Turn 10, but I’ll try to get it back tomorrow.”

Mercedes unveiled a major redesign of its car in Monaco last weekend, but has always insisted that Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya would give the first true indication of its performance, because the combination of big turns at different speeds is a comprehensive test for the aerodynamics of Formula 1 cars.

Team principal Toto Wolff described the performance of the revised Mercedes, which features new side sills, floor and front suspension, as “solid”.

“I believe in the package,” Wolff said. “It’s a new baseline. It’s something we have to work on without having to challenge certain parts of the car and that’s what we’re pushing now.”

The new concept is a departure from the unique design philosophy Mercedes pursued for the new regulations introduced for 2022, but which Wolff said they would have to abandon at the first race of the season when it became clear the team had no made progress they had planned.

“We had to figure out the direction we went it just didn’t work,” he said. “We’re a team that won eight straight world championships that just got it wrong last year.

“We tried to find out what it was that we didn’t understand, things got better towards the end of the season, the regulations changed that we misinterpreted and here we go, we start from scratch.

“Learning is extremely important in the future.”

Wolff described an incident in which Hamilton and teammate George Russell collided during qualifying as “all miscommunication”.

Hamilton was trying to pass Russell on the outside down the pit straight but was unaware that his teammate, who was also starting a flying lap, was there.

“It seems silly,” Wolff said, “but it wasn’t. It was just a miscommunication.”

How to watch the Spanish Grand Prix on the BBC
Checkered Flag Podcast: Spanish Grand Prix Preview
Full qualifying times

Alonso’s double fault

Alonso said he was “hurt” that he had made two different mistakes in qualifying.

The 41-year-old has been almost flawless all season after joining an up-and-coming Aston Martin team after making significant progress with their car, and sits third in the championship after five podiums in the first six races.

Alonso went off the track in his first qualifying lap at the high-speed final corner and damaged his floor, which his team was forced to make repairs for the rest of the session. He qualified with sports car tape in various places to hold it in place.

Aston Martin said the impact on the car’s performance was “significant”.

“Q1 compromised everything,” Alonso said. “I made a mistake and went into the wet part of the track in the last corner and lost the car. This was very costly – the gravel completely destroyed the floor.

“It hurts even more because it was the outside round. I wasn’t even pushing. Disappointed with my performance today and hopefully I can do a better Sunday.

“The car was behaving strangely in some corners, but you never know if it’s just the wind or the track conditions.

“It was strange to see Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc out of Q1 and [Red Bull’s] Russell and Sergio Perez in Q2. We struggled too.

“It was difficult for everyone, but in my case it was just my fault. The car still feels competitive even with some damage to the floor, so if we put it all together, we’re still optimistic, we can score a lot of points.”

Even with the damage, Alonso said he was on course for the front row on his final lap until he ran away at Turn 10.

Asked what he could have achieved, Alonso said: “P2 probably even with the floor as it was because on lap Q3 I was coming in for a [one minute] 12.7 [second lap] until turn 10 when again I ran wide on humidity. place abroad.

“When I saw now that 12.7 is P2 and P3 I was surprised. That’s why I’m optimistic about tomorrow because the car still has a lot of pace.”

Aston Martin is allowed under F1 regulations to replace any damaged parts of the car, despite the fact that teams are not allowed to work on their cars between qualifying and the race.

Leclerc shocked by the qualifying pace

It was a shock qualifying session that could lead to an interesting race with many fast drivers out of position.

As well as Hamilton and Alonso hoping to make progress, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez starts 11th after a mistake and running off-track, Russell is 12th after struggling with his car but confident he will be better in the race and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is 19th. after a session that left him confused.

He was happy with the car in final practice, but said after being disqualified in the first qualifying session: “We will have to check the data, but above all check the car because there was definitely something strange.

“I almost lost it during the red flag and I was doing about 70km/h [44mph] and there was no warning.

“The left turns were very, very bad back right. And at first I thought it was the tires, so we went for a new set of tires and on the new set of tires it was exactly the same feeling. Right turns very good, left corners completely off.

“We’ll have to check, but I’d be very, very surprised if we don’t find something in the data.

“I’m pretty sure there’s something not quite right.”


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