Hamilton takes 100th F1 pole position
By Mat Coch
Sunday 9th May, 2021 - 12:31am
Lewis Hamilton has become the first driver in world championship history to claimed 100 pole positions.
The Mercedes driver headed Max Verstappen in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix by just 0.03s to reach the milestone.
Third fastest was Valtteri Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo will line up seventh, two places ahead of his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris.
The start of the session was delayed as work was carried out on barriers at Turn 9 damaged by one of the support classes.
When the session got underway, the early pace was set by Bottas with a 1:18.005s on a set of medium tyres.
He headed Verstappen’s 1:18.090s with Hamilton initially third fastest, also on a set of mediums, before Carlos Sainz went 0.040s faster with a 1:18.205s.
Lando Norris’ first flying lap was hindered by traffic at the penultimate corner, the McLaren driver having to manage his way by two cars while tucked up behind Mick Schumacher.
It caught the eye of officials, who confirmed they would investigate it post-session.
There were no such issues for Pierre Gasly, who recorded a 1:18.190s to shoot to third.
With three minutes remaining, the field from ninth down headed back out on track.
They were joined by Hamilton, who’d fallen to sixth, the Mercedes driver switching to a set of soft compound rubber, though the Englishman did nothing more than tour around and return to the pits.
Charles Leclerc booked himself a spot in Qualifying 2 by rising to second fastest, a 1:18.041s.
Norris jumped to the top with a 1:17.821, the McLaren driver having dropped into the elimination zone after his earlier lap was compromised.
Eliminated from the session were Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), and Nikita Mazepin (Haas).
Qualifying 2 began, though more than a minute elapsed before the two Mercedes headed out on track.
Hamilton was the first driver to start a flying lap, setting a 22.026s through the first third of the circuit.
He ended the lap with a 1:17.632s but lost out to Bottas who recorded a 1:17.400s soon after.
Both had used a set of the soft compound tyres, as did Verstappen who logged a 1:16.922s to move nearly 0.5s clear of Bottas.
Fourth fastest after the opening exchanges in the segment was Norris on a 1:17.696s.
The two Ferraris then slotted in fifth and sixth, with Fernando Alonso seventh for Alpine.
Ricciardo’s opening effort left him 10th, 1:18.037s seeing him 0.3s away from Norris as the top 10 were covered by just over a second.
The Australian was only 0.004s clear of Esteban Ocon in 11th, while Perez was 12th for Red Bull on 1:18.069s.
Most of the remaining runners began their second flying lap inside of the final two minutes.
Electing not to was Verstappen, the Dutchman comfortable enough with his early effort to remain in the garage.
Hamilton had headed out on used soft tyres, while Bottas had bolted on a new set.
Perez extricated himself from the drop zone with a 1:17.669s to go fifth fastest.
Ricciardo then marked the end of the segment with a 1:17.719s to move up to eighth, having set the fastest first sector of anyone in the session.
Missing the grade were Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Gasly (AslphaTauri), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), and George Russell (Williams).
Both Mercedes drivers had improved on their times from earlier in the session, seemingly locking Hamilton into the start of Sunday’s race on a set of used tyres.
Bottas meanwhile improved to a 1:17.142s to remain second on another set of soft compound tyres.
Qualifying 3 began with all 10 runners heading out.
Norris headed the field, recording a 1:18.010s to start the final segment of the three-part qualifying hour.
Both Ferraris quickly beat that, Sainz with a 1:17.620s and Leclerc with a 1:17.708s.
Even Ricciardo bested his team-mate, banking a 1:17.622s.
A spin for Perez ruined his first effort, and seemed to hinder Hamilton’s lap too.
He still went fastest, 1:16.741 the result, 0.03s quicker than Verstappen’s 1:16.777s with Bottas third with 1:16.873s.
Fourth was Ocon, the Frenchman logging a 1:17.580s to slow in ahead of Sainz.
With little more than two minutes remaining, the all 10 runners trundled down the pit lane ahead of their final flying laps.
Hamilton was the first to start a lap, followed by Bottas and Verstappen.
Missing the line was Ricciardo, who crossed the line to start his lap after the chequered flag had emerged – the Australian a victim of the traffic jam at the end of the lap after running last on the road.
It was a solid start to the lap but he was unable to go on with it, slower than his earlier effort by 0.3s.
Verstappen also couldn’t improve and remained second, the same true of third placed Bottas.
Fourth went to Leclerc, followed by Ocon, Sainz, Ricciardo, Perez, Norris, and Alonso.
The results marks Hamilton as the first driver in the sport’s history to claim 100 pole positions, with the Englishman now looking to record his 98th career win in Sunday’s race.
The Spanish Grand Prix gets underway at 23:00 AEST tonight.
Results: Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:18.090||1:16.922||1:16.777|
|8||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||1:18.203||1:17.669||1:17.701|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:18.241||1:17.974|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1:18.190||1:17.982|
|13||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||1:18.289||1:18.079|
|14||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:18.549||1:18.356|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Scuderia AlphaTauri||1:18.556|
|17||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:18.917|