Max Verstappen secured his fourth pole position of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix with a dominating performance, finishing 0.462s ahead of Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz in second place. McLaren‘s Lando Norris was a surprise third-place qualifier, followed by Pierre Gasly of Alpine in fourth. Lewis Hamilton had the fastest Mercedes and qualified in fifth place, while Lance Stroll of Aston Martin claimed sixth. The top six qualifiers came from six different teams, making for a highly unusual starting grid for Sunday’s race.
In a bizarre session, the Mercedes teammates collided, and the stewards will investigate the incident. George Russell, who qualified 12th, appeared to cut across his teammate Lewis Hamilton as they both started fast laps in the final minutes of Q2. The collision resulted in damage to Hamilton‘s front wing, forcing him to back off as he was pushed onto the grass. Russell completed his lap but did not advance to the top-ten shootout, leaving him under pressure to perform on Sunday.
Red Bull‘s Sergio Perez underperformed for the second weekend in a row, missing out on a place in Q3 by 0.051s after running wide at Turn 5 on his second lap in Q2, and faces another battle back through the field.
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc struggled for performance throughout Q1 and was shuffled down the order at the end of the session as track conditions improved. He finished 19th, complaining of an issue at the rear of his car and trailing his teammate Sainz by 0.6s.
Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon of Alpine secured seventh ahead of Haas‘ Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso, who was outqualified by teammate Stroll for the first time this year, in ninth place. Alonso ran wide in the final corner during Q1, damaging the floor of his car as he ran through the gravel, and will start alongside McLaren‘s Oscar Piastri in 10th.
Nyck De Vries will start 14th ahead of AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsuonda, while Valtteri Bottas in 16th, Kevin Magnussen in 17th, Alex Albon in 18th, and Logan Sargeant in 20th completed the bottom of the grid with Perez and Russell. With the unusual starting grid, the Sunday race promises to offer many surprises and plenty of action on the track.