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Charles Leclerc claims pole position for Spanish Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc claims pole position for Spanish Grand Prix

21 May - 16:03
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Charles Leclerc has claimed pole position ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, beating out Max Verstappen in second by 0.323 and Carlos Sainz in third. The Ferrari driver claimed his fourth pole position of the season with a lap time of 1:18.750 and his first ever pole in Spain.

George Russell followed in fourth and Lewis Hamilton claimed sixth, with Sergio Perez splitting the Mercedes duo. Valterri Bottas finished seventh, followed by Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher.

Aston Martin and Alonso miss out on Q2 appearance

Red Bull sent out both Perez and Verstappen early in the session, which surprised many. The Mexican beat Guanyu Zhou's first lap time by 0.618 seconds but slowed down to give the current World Champion a tow down the main straight. Verstappen bettered his teammate with a lap time of 1:20.091 after running wide at turn 10. With 10 minutes left in Q1, only five drivers had completed a lap time. Soon after, Sainz started his first lap, storming ahead of Verstappen and sending the crowd erupting into noise.

Soon after Sainz took the lead, Leclerc moved in front, moving Ferrari into an early one-two. Then came the Mercedes drivers and the rest of the grid followed suit, with the track becoming the busiest it's been all weekend. Russell's fastest sector one caught the attention of many, but the raw speed of the Ferrari's and Verstappen meant that the Brit could only best a fourth-place finish in his first run, with Hamilton following closely behind.

The Mercedes duo returned to the track with two minutes to go as a precautionary measure, whilst Haas moved into the top 10 with the track pace ramping up as the session continued on. Aston Martin's supposed upgrades brought no success as both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll missed out on Q2.

OUT IN Q1 - Vettel, Alonso, Stroll, Albon, Latifi

Track speed improved throughout the session

With the track speed clearly increasing as the session moved forward, all 15 drivers were on track before the 10-minute mark. Hamilton claimed the first 1:19 of the session but finished 0.324 seconds off his teammate after the first lap. Both Ferrari drivers struggled and had messy laps, with Leclerc finishing fourth and Sainz finishing sixth. Verstappen also struggled and could only best a seventh-place early in the session. However, a lot of drivers were on used tyres, which affected their pace coming out the pits.

The final two minutes were action-packed, with only Hamilton, Russell and Leclerc not coming back onto the track for a final attempt at solidifying a spot in Q3. Sainz was able to move onto pole, whilst others struggled to find any more pace on track. Magnussen moved up to fourth before Verstappen comfortably moved ahead of the Spaniard in first.

Lando Norris moved up to seventh place but after leaving the track at turn 10, was stripped of his position and dropped to 11th. With this, Schumacher claimed his first ever Q3 appearance in Formula 1.

OUT IN Q2 - Norris, Ocon, Tsunoda, Gasly, Zhou

Leclerc spin highlights final session in qualifying

All 10 drivers were quickly onto the track in the final session, with Sainz and the Red Bull duo claiming quick times. On the other hand, Leclerc turned into the final chicane and spun but didn't get in the way of the following Russell, who finished in fourth. After returning to the pits shortly, the 10 drivers made their way back onto track for their final qualifying runs.

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