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Saturday in Barcelona | Flaming brakes and DRS troubles in Spain

Saturday in Barcelona | Flaming brakes and DRS troubles in Spain

21 May - 21:40 Last update: 22:34


It was another exhilarating Saturday in the world of Formula 1. Mick Schumacher's flaming brakes, Max Verstappen 's DRS problem and Charles Leclerc's spin followed by a perfect pole lap: it all happened at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Smoky morning in Barcelona

After a Friday that was partly dominated by green Red Bulls, Saturday had already recovered a little from the shock. Pierre Gasly, however, faced more bad news: when he tried to drive out of the pits, smoke came out of his AlphaTauri car, so the session was soon over for the Frenchman.

Moments later, it was Mick Schumacher's turn. The Haas driver was doing well in FP3, but after fifteen minutes he got problems with his rear brake. Smoke came out of that too, and by the time he reached the pit lane flames were shooting out of his right rear wheel. Because the brake had failed completely, he came to a stop at the Haas garage with difficulty.

Meanwhile, the pace was set by Ferrari. Charles Leclerc kept it up until the end, but Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton crept between him and his teammate on the timesheet.

Verstappen without DRS in qualifying

In Q1 of qualifying, the timesheet was again led by Ferrari in the first two places, followed by Verstappen and the two drivers from Mercedes, where the worst problems with porpoising seem to have been fixed now.

Meanwhile, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel experienced little benefit from the "green Red Bull" of Aston Martin. Both drivers already stranded in Q1, after which Stroll judged that the car was so far off the pace that it cannot possibly be a copy of Red Bull.

In Q2, Verstappen led the timesheet by diving under both Mercedes drivers in the final stages, who were the fastest up to that point. However, they did so on a new set of softs, while their competitors drove on used tires. Verstappen opted to take no chances and make a final run on new softs, which gave him the fastest time.

While Lando Norris saw his lap time go up in smoke for exceeding track limits, the lights went green for Q3. Initially Verstappen set a fastest time in a very strong first run, which proved unbeatable for a long time. Not even for Leclerc, who ruined his first run by ending up in a spin.

The Monegasque thus had only one chance to attack Verstappen's time, but seemed little affected by pressure. He set a flawless lap and moved into the fastest time. Due to his DRS system not working, Verstappen had to abort his final attempt, but his first run was enough for second place.

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