After one of the closest qualifying sessions of the season, the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton seized the pole position, a few thousands of a second ahead of his championship opponent, Max Verstappen.
After a delay of 10 minutes due to an accident in a support series, the fourth qualifying session of the season started.
The teams to watch out for before the session start were definitely the two front runners: Mercedes and Red Bull of course, but also Ferrari, Alpha Tauri, and Alpine that were looking very sharp on track through the three practice sessions.
As usual, the Williams and the Haas were the first on track, closely followed by the Mercedes and Red Bulls. Norris and Leclerc immediately showed their confidence in Spain, surprisingly managing to set the best and third-best times of Q1.
Unfortunately, Yuki Tsunoda still did not manage to get out of his negative series of results, as he was eliminated in Q1. At the end of the session, the Japanese complained about his car that he still does not seem to fully understand.
At the start of Q2, the Mercedes and the Red Bulls opted for the softest compound available, probably to help them get a better impulsion at the start of tomorrow’s race and, therefore, prevent themselves from getting overtaken on the 600m straight that is separating them from turn 1.
When Verstappen was confident enough to stay in his box for the last minutes of Q2, both the Mercedes came out on track once more on soft tires. Both the Aston Martin drivers did not make it into Q3, crossing the finish line in P11 and P13, as well as Gasly who was absent from the last section of qualifying, for the first time this season. The positive news is that Sainz and Alonso will start inside the top 10 for their home Grand Prix.
For their first lap in Q3, the midfield battle promised to be one of the closest of the season as Ocon, Sainz, and Ricciardo were separated by just 42 thousand of a second. Hamilton took the provisional pole, a few thousands ahead of Verstappen.
Perez, unfortunately, spun on his first try and had a single chance left to finally assert his position inside his new team. For his second outing, Ricciardo could not cross the start-finish line in time but still qualified in P7, as only Perez and Leclerc could improve their times.
Finally, after a very surprising second outing in Q3 in which almost nobody managed to improve, Hamilton seized the 100th pole position of his career, breaking once again the records of Formula One.