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GP Week : Issue 220
QUALIFYING Where has Nico Rosberg been? The man who climbed from the Mercedes in the opening four races of the season looked and sounded like the German but it was only in Spain that it seemed to actually be him. He'd been fast all weekend leading up to qualifying, something which perhaps forced Lewis Hamilton to push a little too hard in final practice and have an uncharacteristic spin. In qualifying itself though Rosberg found something. He found quite a lot of something, actually, with a quarter of a second advantage over Hamilton. There were mistakes aplenty in Hamilton's final flying lap, so the gap really should have been smaller but by the same token Rosberg held all the cards in that he was the last man on track so was in a position to react had he needed to. As it was he completed his lap, which was slower than his best set at the start of the final phase of the session, probably with a wr y smile flashing across his face. The pair were comfortably quicker than the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, the Prancing Horses far more lazy around the Barcelona circuit than they'd been in recent races. There is some half a second difference between Mercedes and Ferrari which doesn't look to be eroded on the longer stints. Vettel's race looked set to be a lonely one as a result given Kimi Raikkonen in the sister car managed just seventh place after complaining about pretty much everything. He had no grip, was sent out in traffic, didn't like the development sidepods the team first fitted to his car and had an overheating tyre warmer. There was also a 'wrong setting' which prompted a frosty response over the radio from the Iceman. Whatever the reason, Raikkonen underperformed. As for that matter did Felipe Massa who lined up just ninth. The Brazilian had burned up two sets of option tyres to make sure he escaped Q2 which meant his one flying lap in the final session had to count. A mistake at turn three, where Hamilton had spun in practice, saw the Brazilian run wide and cost him any chance of a strong grid spot. There were strong results of the two Toro Rosso drivers, the pair managing to out perform the senior team which will leave Red Bull red faced. The worst thing is there was no explanation for the lack of pace from Daniel Ricciardo or Daniil Kvyat. There were engine problems for both drivers during practice but there is no hiding from the fact they were spanked by their understudies. Any argument Christian Horner now produces against the Renault engine with wreak of hypocrisy as the Red Bull is clearly not up to scratch, evidenced by the fact it was only average in qualifying; better than five teams, it was bettered by four others. One of the teams it did beat was Force India, though that should come as no surprise given the squad was one of the Where has Nico been? FORMULA 1 Round 5 SPANISH GP – Qualifying Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 LaPs 1 6 NICO ROSBERG MERCEDES 1:26.490s 1:25.166s 1:24.681s 18 2 44 LEWIS HAMILTON MERCEDES 1:26.382s 1:25.740s 1:24.948s 17 3 5 SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI 1:27.534s 1:26.167s 1:25.458s 15 4 77 VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS 1:27.262s 1:26.197s 1:25.694s 16 5 55 CARLOS SAINZ TORO ROSSO 1:26.773s 1:26.475s 1:26.136s 17 6 33 MAX VERSTAPPEN TORO ROSSO 1:27.393s 1:26.441s 1:26.249s 20 7 7 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN FERRARI 1:26.637s 1:26.016s 1:26.414s 16 8 26 DANIIL KVYAT RED BULL 1:27.833s 1:26.889s 1:26.629s 16 9 19 FELIPE MASSA WILLIAMS 1:27.165s 1:26.147s 1:26.757s 16 10 3 DANIEL RICCIARDO RED BULL 1:27.611s 1:26.692s 1:26.770s 16 11 8 ROMAIN GROSJEAN LOTUS 1:27.383s 1:27.375s 13 12 13 PASTOR MALDONADOLOTUS 1:27.281s 1:27.450s 13 13 14 FERNANDO ALONSO MCLAREN 1:27.941s 1:27.760s 11 14 22 JENSON BUTTON MCLAREN 1:27.813s 1:27.854s 12 15 12 FELIPE NASR SAUBER 1:27.625s 1:28.005s 14 16 9 MARCUS ERICSSON SAUBER 1:28.112s 6 17 27 NICO HULKENBERG FORCE INDIA 1:28.365s 6 18 11 SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA 1:28.442s 7 19 28 WILL STEVENS MARUSSIA 1:31.200s 6 20 98 ROBERTO MERHI MARUSSIA 1:32.038s 4 Q1 107% Time: 1:32.428 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SPAIN PARTNERS: