Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying: Hamilton returns to red hot form

Lewis Hamilton returned to form by storming to pole position ahead of tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix. The Brit looked back to his best as the session progressed and put in a time of 1:22.000 to secure his 52nd pole of his career.

Hamilton will be joined by teammate Nico Rosberg on the front row of the grid. The new Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen after the teenager swapped seats with Daniil Kvyat will share the second row tomorrow after Verstappen continued to impress everyone on qualifying day. The Dutchman was ahead of Ricciardo throughout Q1 and Q2 but it was the Australian that came out on top in the top-ten-shootout much to the relief of Ricciardo’s side of the garage. 

Q1 was much the same as it has been throughout 2016 with the usual suspects failing to make it passed the final hurdle. However, there was one notable casualty. Felipe Massa did not make it passed the first phase of qualifying after a timing issues prevented the Brazilian from setting another time at the end.

The first session was extremely close with thirteen drivers being separated by just 1.1 seconds. Renault continued to struggle in Spain with Jolyon Palmer being eliminated in the dying seconds of the session after Jenson Button put in a time faster than his fellow Brit.  

Massa and Palmer joined the Sauber pairing of Marcus Ericsson, Felipe Nasr, Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto. 

The Mercedes pair were quick to get a time on the board in Q2. The pacesetters knew they had time in their pocket for Q2 and opted for just one run in Q2. 

Hamilton set the tone in Q2 and laid down the gauntlet. He left Rosberg trailing by .600s. Whilst Hamilton was setting the timing screen alight it was Max Verstappen that was grabbing the headlines and was quicker than Ricciardo again as he was in Q1.

Ferrari were having a quiet session and it was clear that is Mercedes were to run into any issues then it would have been Red Bull taking the opportunities. Kimi Raikkonen had a testing afternoon and had a difficult time in Q2 and left it late in the second part of qualifying.

The Finn went off the track twice on his first attempt in Q2, at Turn 3 and Turn 5. Raikkonen was forced to go again to book his place in Q3 and used an extra set of tyres in the process.

Whilst Ferrari and Raikkonen were having a difficult afternoon, there was finally joy on a Saturday afternoon for McLaren. Fernando Alonso got his McLaren Honda into Q3 for the first time since the rekindling of the McLaren Honda partnership. Jenson Button could count himself unlucky not to have joined Alonso into Q3 and narrowly missed out.

Jenson Button joined Nico Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Gutierrez on the sidelines. 

After looking almost untouchable in Q2 Hamilton made an error on his first effort in the final phase of qualifying. After looking eclectic in sectors one and two on his first effort, Hamilton locked his front brakes and went deep into Turn 10.

Rosberg made no mistakes on his first run to take provisional pole. Raikkonen’s stuggles continued as the Finn struggled for grip after making yet another mistake. Raikkonen went on to qualify 5th place ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton on his second and final blew the competition out of the water with a time of 1:22.000 with Rosberg over a quarter of a second slower. 

After trailing his new teammate throughout the duration of the session, Ricciardo put in a fast lap when it mattered to better Verstappen. Ricciardo will line up tomorrow in 3rd place ahead of Verstappen in 4th.

Will Hamilton finally be able to take his first and much needed win of the seasonn? Can Verstappen make it onto the podium? Or will Rosberg win once again? Leave your predictions below.