0.002 in it as Bulls P5 and P6

The Team will start the Spanish Grand Prix from row three of the grid, with Max taking fifth spot in qualifying, just two thousandths of a second ahead of Daniel.

A regulation opening session saw the Team lay claim to Q2 spot midway through the session segment. As Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace ahead of team-mate Kimi Räikkönen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Daniel and Max headed out on track to disrupt the order, with Daniel jumping ahead of Hamilton, while Max recovered from an electrical problem in FP3 to vault to P2 with a time of 1:17.411.

The times achieved during those runs secured both passage to Q2 with minimum fuss. Further back, though, there was trouble for Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. The German suffered a fuel pressure problem early in the session but his team managed to get him out on track for the final runs. Hulkenberg tried to exploit the opportunity but he was clearly struggling and 14th place at the line still left him under threat.

The danger proved very real and when the final times began to filter in, it was Stoffel Vandoorne who claimed the final Q2 spot, bumping Hulkenberg out by just four hundredths of a second.

The Renault driver was eliminated ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Williams’s Sirotkin. Out, too, went Lance Stroll with the second Williams driver being ruled out by both poor performance and a crash at the very end of the session. Following a heavy crash at the end of FP3, Brendon Hartley did not take part in the session due to Toro Rosso not being able to prep his car in time.

In Q2 the frontrunners went out on soft tyres at the start of the session and Hamilton laid down what looked like a strong benchmark with a lap of 1:17.166. It was, however, swiftly eclipsed by Bottas and then demolished by Vettel, who became the first man under 1m17s with a lap of 1:16.802. Räikkönen then bypassed Bottas to take P2. Max looked to have done enough in P5 but Daniel’s position looked less sure.

2018 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying Stats:

  • This is Daniel’s second consecutive sixth-place grid position in Spain. It will be his 14th career start from P6. Last year he rose three places during the race to claim his 19th career podium.
  • This is Max’s second P5 start in a row in Spain. Last year he failed to finish.
  • It is also Max’s third P5 start in a row. 
  • Max now leads Daniel3-2 in the boys’ qualifying battle.

The decision was taken to send both Bulls out on supersoft tyres but as rivals behind failed to improve Daniel backed off in his final sector to leave his soft tyre time as his best lap of the segment. Max, meanwhile, abandoned his final run and thus both drivers will start tomorrow’s race on the yellow-banded Pirelli tyre.

Eliminated at this stage were Vandoorne in P11, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, Force India’s Esteban Ocon, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and the second Force India of Sergio Pérez.

In the first runs of Q3 it was Hamilton who seized control, the Mercedes driver setting a benchmark of 1:16.491. It might have been expected that Vettel would respond, the German’s opening time was not good and his lap of 1:17.255, slower than his Q1 time, left him fifth.

That left the way open to the Red Bulls and Max took provisional P2 with Daniel third ahead of Bottas and Vettel. Daniel then took what appeared to be the unusual decision of fitting the soft tyre for his final run, but it was a choice replicated by a number of drivers including Räikkönen, Vettel and Alonso.

It proved a good decision for Daniel, but not good enough. The Honey Badger improved marginally but it wasn’t enough to make a major impression and he finished in sixth place with a time of 1:16.818, just 0.002 behind Max. Hamilton, who got down to a time of 1:16.173, took pole ahead of Bottas, while Vettel climbed to P3 on his set of soft tyres.

Räikkönen took third as the Bulls locked out row three, while seventh place went to Haas’ Kevin Magnussen. Fernando Alonso was eighth for McLaren, ahead of Renault’s Carlos Sainz and tenth place was taken by Romain Grosjean in the second Haas.

Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying - Top 10:

  1.  Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  7. Kevin Magnussen
  8. Fernando Alonso
  9. Carlos Sainz
  10. Romain Grosjean.