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GP Week : Issue 201
QUALIFYING close the gap to the silver cars. Looking to tomorrow, then I think third is the best we can do. If Mercedes continue at the pace they had today then realistically we won't catch them, so then third, although it wouldn't be a victory, it would be really satisfying." With Vettel out, The vacant grid four spot went to ... Valtteri Boittas – who was as surprised as anyone. Some last-minute set-up changes had paid off: “It all came together when it mattered and I managed to get a good lap. We have made some set-up changes since FP3 and they worked well but it will be even better in the race ...” Crucially, team-mate Felipe Massa, having looked promising in Q1 and Q2, simply blew his lap when it mattered, locking the rear under brakes for Turn 10 and thus being the slowest of those to complete a Q3 lap. The biggest, and happiest, surprise was to see Romain Grosjean on grid five. Progress is being made at Lotus and qualifying is where it can be seen: “Romain hasn't found the car the easiest for extracting pace here,” said team trackside director Alan Permane, “but we can see that it's coming together. We saw the potential in practice this morning when he was fifth fastest [and] to carry that pace through to qualifying itself underlines the progress made.” His team-mate, however, continues to be an expensive embarrassment. This time, Maldonado crashed before setting a time in Q1 and would start last. Yes, he’s paying plenty, but ... Success for Bottas and Grosjean came at the expense of Ferrari. Barcelona exposes car performance across the ingredients and, for the red cars, it’s just not there yet. Both made Q3, but would start sixth and seventh, Kimi sneaking in four-hundredths ahead of Fernando, who summed it all up: “Of the updates we brought here, some worked, while others need further testing. There is a definite improvement compared to China, but we have some problems with the rear, despite the many set-up changes we made. Kimi did very well and I hope that both Ferraris can finish higher up. Now we must find the best strategy for tomorrow and try to get a good start.” Jenson Button dragged his McLaren into the 10 and did a better job than Massa to earn grid 8, as the team dealt with a general lack of grip. Having done a similar time to his team leader in Q1, Kevin Magnussen was unlucky to suffer an engine problem in Q2, not recording a time, though he did shut it down in time to save the engine. The Force Indias shared the sixth row, seemingly comfortable that this isn’t particularly a strong venue for them, while, at the back, the Marussias accounted for the Caterhams. FORMULA 1TM GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2014 66 LAPS ROUND 5/19 << Last Race – China Three Weeks Ago 1 Next Race – Monaco >> Two Weeks’ Time FORMULA 1TM GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2014 QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Maintaining Mercedes’ 100% pole record in 2014. Lewis Hamilton is officially on pole for the first time in Barcelona – he previously took pole in 2012 only to be stripped of it when he was found to have insufficient fuel. For the second year in a row, Mercedes have locked out the front row on this track, but this time in the opposite order, with Nico Rosberg second. 2 – Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is over a second slower, yet in the top-3 for the third time this year (fourth time if you include Bahrain, where he was 3rd until a grid penalty). He had never previously qualified in the top-10 on this track, while Williams’ Valtteri Bottas is fourth, only the 2nd time that the team has had a car in the top-5 on this circuit since 2005. The other occurrence was in 2012, when Pastor Maldonado won from pole. 3 – Romain Grosjean is a sensational fifth, as Lotus continue their fightback (he didn’t reach Q3 until China). Grosjean has outqualified both the Ferraris, with Kimi Räikkönen becoming the first teammate of Fernando Alonso to outqualify him here since Jarno Trulli in 2004. It is also only the 2nd time no Ferrari has started in the top-6 on this track since 1997, although last year Alonso became the first man to win the Spanish GP from outside the top-3 on the grid since 1981, so there’s hope. 4 – Mclaren’s Jenson Button is higher than he’s been on the grid here in either of the last 2 years, while Felipe Massa is starting from the same position as he did last season, when he went on to take his last podium finish to-date. In tenth, Nico Hülkenberg has his highest ever start in Catalunya. 5 – While Daniil Kvyat was quickest in the speed trap, Toro Rosso are still without a Q3 start on this track in their history. Kevin Magnussen failed to reach Q3 for the 2nd consecutive race, but he will start ahead of Sebastian Vettel after the German suffered a gearbox failure. In turn, that meant he incurred only his 2nd grid penalty since the beginning of 2010 (the other being Abu Dhabi 2012, when he was excluded for also having insufficient fuel). 6 – The Sauber team have seen one of their cars eliminated in Q1 at every race so far in 2014, while Max Chilton topped the Marussia-Caterham battle for the first time in 2014.....and would have put him 4th on the grid for the GP2 race. Marcus Ericsson managed to outqualify teammate Kamui Kobayashi for the first time this year, while Pastor Maldonado didn’t set a Q1 time for the third time in 5 races! 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SPAIN PARTNERS: