F1 Spain, Qualifying: Rosberg takes pole, Hamilton comes next

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After the first four rounds in which Lewis Hamilton knocked down the first spot on the grid every single time, Nico Rosberg snarls in his attempt to prove he is still running the battle for the championship title. Ferrari seems to lose ground against the Mercedes squad, but manages instead to keep the “best of the rest” position.

Rosberg seems to have learnt from the mistakes he made during the Bahrein qualifying session and set a pole time even from the beginning of the Q3. Hamilton was not able to beat his teammate’s performance by the end of the session and, for the first time this season, is thrown back in the second spot. Even though it was pretty clear that the fight was between the two Mercedes drivers, their pace proved to be truly sensational. Both W06 racing cars managed to come in the first two positions in the Q1, running on hard tyres, therefore preserving one new set of mediums.

Vettel came eight tenths of a second behind, as the German stated he was concerned about the pace of Ferrari. Even though the round in Barcelona was set to come with a series of upgrades for most squads, the gap between the Scuderia and Mercedes seems to have become even wider. Moreover, Williams displayed a better pace in the simulation stints of the race in FP2. The bad news in the Italians’ camp proceed with Raikkonen’s performance. The Finn started the Q3 on mediums, but only managed to knock down the inconspicuous spot 7.

Bottas certifies the tempo of the Williams squad and comes in 4th, but we find the spice of the top 10 in the 5-6 positions. The Torro Rosso pack, the crazy colts, Sainz and Verstappen manage a terrific result and tomorrow’s race shapes well into an enticing battle in the peloton. If the Renault engineers did their job, the two are going to hold out an unforgettable race. The big squad, Red Bull, does not imitate the performance of the two and Kvyat is bound to settle for the 8th position, while Ricciardo is starting in the 10th. Felipe Massa is right between them.

Grosjean and Maldonado failed to join the Q3 and the Lotus duo is starting in the 11th and 12th place. Actually, from the 10th position down, all spots were shared in pairs by all drivers. In the 13th-14th, we find those in McLaren Honda, Alonso first, Button next. Despite a series of upgrades operated on the racing cars, McLaren fails to go into the Q3, but they should not be benighted when it comes to scoring points. Nasr and Ericsson come next in the 15th and 16th spots, while Force India certifies the rough time they are going through and comes in the 17th and 18th position, only managing to outperform the Manor team.

The race is set to start tomorrow, at 2 p.m. local time.

1Nico RosbergMercedes1m24.681s-
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m24.948s0.267s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1m25.458s0.777s
4Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes1m25.694s1.013s
5Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault1m26.136s1.455s
6Max VerstappenToro Rosso/Renault1m26.249s1.568s
7Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m26.414s1.733s
8Daniil KvyatRed Bull/Renault1m26.629s1.948s
9Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m26.757s2.076s
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m26.770s2.089s
11Romain GrosjeanLotus/Mercedes1m27.375s2.694s
12Pastor MaldonadoLotus/Mercedes1m27.450s2.769s
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda1m27.760s3.079s
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1m27.854s3.173s
15Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1m28.005s3.324s
16Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m28.112s3.431s
17Nico HulkenbergForce India/Mercedes1m28.365s3.684s
18Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m28.442s3.761s
19Will StevensMarussia/Ferrari1m31.200s6.519s
20Roberto MerhiMarussia/Ferrari1m32.038s7.357s