Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2019 Qualifying: Saturday's Results, Times, Final GridMay 11, 2019
Valtteri Bottas continued his excellent 2019 season on Saturday, as he led a Mercedes front-row lockout in qualifying at the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes were dominant throughout the day, and Bottas secured pole with a stunning time of one minute, 15.406 seconds. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton will join him at the front of the grid, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel will begin in third.
Earlier in the day, Hamilton topped final practice, with Bottas leading the way in both sessions on Friday.
Here is a recap of Saturday's action, including the key details from qualifying ahead of Sunday's race in Barcelona.
With all the main names negotiating their way through Q1, the big story early on was the continued struggles of Renault.
While Daniel Ricciardo was able to squeeze through into the next phase, Nico Hulkenberg had a session to forget. His front wing got stuck under his car after a collision with the barriers, prompting mid-session repairs and then an eventual elimination.
F1 journalist Philip Duncan commented on what has been a challenging 2019 for the team so far:
One of the biggest surprises in Q1 was the performance of McLaren's Lando Norris. He produced a fine lap to stay well clear of any cutoff and finished the session in a lofty sixth position.
In the second stanza, the power of the Mercedes was again there for all to see, as Hamilton posted a time of 1:16.038 to break the circuit record; it felt inevitable he would go quicker again in the final session, too:
Elsewhere, the scrap to get into the top-10 shootout was intriguing, as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc found himself in the red zone as the clock ticked down to zero. He eventually did enough to get through on his final lap, while Bottas pipped Hamilton to top spot at the end of the session.
The Ferrari mechanics had some work to do before Q3:
In the race for pole, Mercedes were always going to be tough to beat, and the two Silver Arrows were first to set a time. Once again, Bottas had the edge, posting a blistering marker of 1:15.406, more than sixth-tenths of a second quicker than Hamilton in second.
In the second runs, neither of the front two were able to improve their times, while Vettel did enough to finish as the best of the rest.
At a track the drivers are so familiar with, it was strange to see a number of big names making errors in the early stages on Saturday.
First it was Vettel, who spun at the chicane. A day earlier, the German had been unhappy with the lack of grip in his rear tyres and didn't appear totally at ease in Barcelona, limping to the fourth-fastest time.
The same could be said for Bottas to begin with. Having looked flawless on Friday, the Finn's mistake left his Mercedes in the gravel and temporarily brought the session to a standstill:
His team's Twitter account were quick to note this was out of character for a driver who is usually so dependable:
Meanwhile, the battle for top spot in the standings didn't ignite until late on, when the leaders decided to give the soft tyres a go.
Leclerc initially went quickest, although he was blown away by Hamilton, who reinforced just how difficult the Mercedes is going to be to beat in qualifying and on Sunday. The Briton was a massive 0.531 seconds ahead of the Ferrari, with Bottas eventually recovering to take third spot.
The session was brought to a premature end when George Russell lost control of his Williams and spun into a wall with five minutes remaining.