Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
The world of Formula One returns to Europe this weekend with the advent of the Barcelona Spanish Grand Prix.
The race is a chance for Mercedes to pull further away from the chasing pack, with Alonso admitting the team's superiority.
The former world champion was honest about his car's chances in Spain.
He said, via Andrew Benson of BBC Sport:
It's not going to happen here or the next two or three grand prix because we are quite a long way behind Mercedes. We need to be realistic with the position we are. We will not give up. There is a big gap in points and in performance with Mercedes but there is still a long way to go in the championship so we will try to do our best.
The race takes place on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. BST / 8:00 a.m. ET
Qualifying: Hamilton Supreme, Vettel Breaks Down
Lewis Hamilton secured his fourth pole of the Formula 1 season and will start alongside teammate Nico Rosberg on the front row of the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The British driver is chasing his fourth consecutive victory of the campaign, and has given himself an excellent chance around a circuit where the pole-sitter has gone on to win 17 of the last 23 races.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completed the top three with after an excellent effort, but it was a bittersweet day for Red Bull as world champion Sebastian Vettel broke down in the final qualifying session; he'll begin in tenth place.
Hamilton was delighted to beat his teammate, who also looked to have the edge for long spells over the weekend, per BBC Sport:
Nico has been driving really well so I didn't know whether I'd be able to get it. But right at the end I managed to get absolutely everything out of the car.
Yesterday I had such a great day and I was really happy with the car. Often when things are that good you don't want to change much, but we changed a couple of small things here and there.
Rosberg, by contrast, was disappointed to lose out on pole, per BBC Sport:
Very disappointed, I don't enjoy coming second to Lewis. In the end it was a good lap from me, and Lewis just did a better job. That's the way it is. It's still all to play for tomorrow. It only takes a good start and I'm in the lead again.
Williams driver Valterri Bottas produced a fine display to finish fourth, whilst Romain Grosjean gave Lotus their best qualifying performance of the season, coming home in fifth. The Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will start in sixth and seventh respectively.
Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa could do no better than ninth position, whilst Jenson Button starts one place ahead in eighth.
The first qualification phase started in highly dramatic fashion, with Pastor Maldonado crashing out after just five minutes. Lotus were much slicker in the practice sessions this weekend after a torrid start to the season, but Maldonado’s smash was the worst possible start to their qualification process.
The Venezuelan probably could have avoided the incident had he just let his car spin after running wide, but he tried his utmost to atone for his error and lost control; he will start on the back row on Sunday.
Adrian Sutil also dropped out at the end of the first qualifying session, joining the usual suspects at the back of the grid. The Caterham duo of Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi missed out on Q2, as did Marussia drivers Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.
Such was the Mercedes’ dominance in Q1, they didn’t need to fit a set of the medium compound tyres to make it through to Q2. It was Rosberg who topped the time sheets come at the conclusion of Q1.
The second qualifying phase was were many expected the most excitement to come from in this qualifying process, given Mercedes’ advantage at the front of the field.
But, there was to be no run out for McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, as technical issues saw him resigned to the garage. Jean-Eric Vergne also failed to set a time, which is no surprise when you consider he has to serve a ten-place grid penalty.
Crowd favourite Alonso just sneaked through into Q3 in his home grand prix, but he looked to be struggling for long spells in his Ferrari.
The Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez just missed the cut, finishing 11th and 12th respectively. Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Gutierrez also failed to progress. Rosberg lead the way once again come the end of the phase.
The final qualifying stint got underway, and the Mercedes pair were out early. But proceedings were suddenly brought to a halt when world champion Vettel found himself without any power.
The Red Bull driver creeped out of the pit lane, before pulling up not long after. A red flag halted the session, allowing Vettel’s car to be moved into a safe position.
With eight minutes left on the clock, the drivers were out immediately to make up for lost time. Rosberg had finished top of the pile in both Q1 and Q2, but Hamilton was chasing his fourth pole of the season and pushed clear of his teammate after the first set of flying laps.
Ricciardo was looking best placed to finish behind the Mercedes drivers, occupying third place midway through the session.
On the final hot lap, Rosberg put Hamilton under pressure with the quickest time of the session. But the Brit had it hooked up by this point, beating the German’s time to go fastest once again.
It's difficult to see anything other than more Mercedes dominance come race day. Keep an eye on the fortunes of Bottas—who was superb in qualifying—and Grosjean, who is near the front for the fist time this season.
Another win for Hamilton would be his fifth in succession. Mercedes have finally provided him with a car that is befitting of his talent, and it's a huge thrill to see the 2008 world champion driving with such confidence and poise.
Here are your full qualifying results, per Formula1.com:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:28.053||1:26.613||1:26.285|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:27.958||1:27.053||No Time|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:28.155||1:27.685|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:28.469||1:28.002|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||1:28.389||No Time|
|16||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||1:28.194||No Time|
|22||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||No Time|
Note - Vergne drops 10 grid places after his team failed to secure a wheel properly during FP2
FP3: Rosberg on Top
The Mercedes team continued to flex their muscles around the Circuit de Catalunya, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton posting the quickest times in the final practice before qualifying.
After a weekend of dominance in Spain, the duo asserted their class once again, making it a clean sweep of quickest practice times for Mercedes. Hamilton actually aborted his fastest lap of FP3, but still finished just shy of half-a-second ahead of the third places driver—an emphatic indicator of their dominance.
That man in third was Fernando Alonso, who showcased some positive signs ahead of his home grand prix. The Spaniard's former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa went fourth quickest in the Williams.
Romain Grosjean had an excellent session in the Lotus posting the fifth fastest time of FP3; he was trailed by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.
The final practice session merely compounded what has been apparent all weekend and we look set for another Mercedes 1-2 on the grid tomorrow.
Another fascinating facet to look out for ahead of the qualifying session is the performance of the Lotus drivers. The team look to have made some big strides as of late, and could make the battle to qualify for Q3 very interesting indeed.
Here are the times and positions for FP3, per Formula1.com:
|5||Romain Grosjean||Lotus Renault||1:27.682||18|
|6||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren Mercedes||1:27.806||16|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:27.808||12|
|8||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes||1:28.006||11|
|10||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:28.085||20|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India Mercedes||1:28.571||13|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India Mercedes||1:28.668||13|
FP2: Mercedes Domination
The Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both posted strong performances in FP2, and as expected dominated proceedings.
Hamilton showed great consistency and smoothness as he continually posted lap after lap at around the one-minute 30-second mark.
And with a switch to the soft tyres, Hamilton's Mercedes posted an excellent time of 1:25.524 - the best performance of the day.
However, it was Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo who posted the first flying lap of the session, hitting an impressive 1:26.509.
This was bettered by Hamilton and his team-mate Rosberg, who became only the second driver below the one-minute 26-second mark, with a run of 1:25.973.
Fernando Alonso continued to show good pace and form in his Ferrari, leading BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson to comment:
Nigel Mansell used to say that racing at home gave him 'a second a lap' and as one watched Fernando Alonso's spectacular progress in the Ferrari in first practice it looked like the Spaniard was being similarly boosted by his adoring fans.
Sebastian Vettel did not take part in the second practice session as his Red Bull mechanics worked furiously on his car's electrical issues from FP1.
Jean-Eric Vergne saw the session's most dramatic incident as his wheel flew off the back-right rear end of his STR, with no contact. The incident could see STR fined and disciplined.
Here are all the times and positions for FP2, per Formula1.com:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:26.509||38|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:28.074||31|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:29.129||34|
FP1: Lewis Hamilton Fastest, Sebastian Vettel Breaks Down
A fascinating start to practice saw Lewis Hamilton once again post the fastest time of FP1, over eight tenths of a second faster than the rest of the field.
But more interestingly, both Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg had reliability issues, with the German champion breaking down on track.
Vettel's Red Bull had an electrical problem, prompting the car to be lifted from the circuit in Barcelona.
Rosberg's Mercedes was confined to the garage for most of the first practice session as the team worked on an ERS problem with their driver's car.
Jenson Button showed some good form in his McLaren as he posted the second quickest time of the session.
He will not expect to replicate such a placing in the race but the signs look positive for the former world champion.
Fernando Alonso also looked cool and confident in his much-maligned Ferrari as he posted the fourth quickest time of the session.
Both Vettel and Rosberg seem ready to fight it out in FP2, with their teams hopeful they will fully take part.
Here is a list of all the times and positions from FP1, per Formula1.com:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:27.973||21|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:28.779||18|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:28.828||17|
|18||Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:30.440||22|
|20||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:30.942||4|