Qualifying facts and stats: Hamilton hits landmark 150th front-row start
The reigning world champion just keeps racking up the records and hitting new Formula 1 highs. But Lewis Hamilton’s headline figures weren’t the only fascinating facts coming out of Spanish Grand Prix qualifying at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya…
• With his 92nd career pole, Lewis Hamilton will on Sunday become the first driver to start 150 Grands Prix from the front row of the grid.
• Mercedes took their 8th consecutive pole in Catalunya today, and with it their 7th front-row lockout in those 8 years.
• Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas was on pole here last year but finished 2nd to Hamilton in the race. With those qualifying positions reversed today, Bottas will be hoping for the same pattern tomorrow.
• It’s the 2nd consecutive race where the pole margin has been 0.063s or less.
• Red Bull’s Max Verstappen starts in the top-3 for the first time ever in Spain.
• The challenge now for Verstappen is that nobody has ever won in the dry on this track from 3rd place on the grid.
• By contrast, Alex Albon in P6 could get no closer than 0.737s to his Red Bull team mate.
• For Sergio Perez, 4th in qualifying ties his best-ever start for the 7th time in his career. And with team mate Lance Stroll in P5, Racing point have their first top-5 starts at Catalunya since Rubens Barrichello in 1994 (when the team were known as Jordan).
• At McLaren, Carlos Sainz out-qualified Lando Norris for only the 2nd time this season.
• Sainz’s 7th place is his best starting position for his home race since 2015, when he was 5th on the grid for Toro Rosso.
• Norris has made it into Q3 at every race this season – today he got through by just 0.002s.
• For Charles Leclerc, 9th is his worst result in a dry qualifying session this year.
• Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel suffered another difficult session. It was the 3rd time this season - and the 2nd race running – that Vettel has missed the cut for Q3.
• Daniil Kvyat was out-qualified by AlphaTauri team mate Pierre gasly for the 9th consecutive race.
• Gasly made Q3 and qualified in P10 – notably all of his points this season have been scored when he was knocked out in Q2.
• Daniel Ricciardo qualified 13th for Renault, his worst Saturday showing of the season. To make it worse for Renault, Esteban Ocon was only 15th – the team’s worst qualifying result of 2020.
• Thanks to Kimi Raikkonen in 14th, Alfa Romeo progressed beyond Q1 for the first time in 2020. However, team mate Antonio Giovinazzi qualified in last place for the first time in his career.
• Haas had both cars in the top-10 on the grid here for the last 2 years running - both went out in Q1 today. That was quite a shock given that Romain Grosjean put them P5 in FP2 yesterday.
• At Williams, George Russell suffered his first Q1 elimination since the year’s opening round in Austria.