For the first time this season Lewis Hamilton will not start a Grand Prix on pole. He was edged out by teammate Nico Rosberg and that could be vital for the German. The Barcelona track is renowned for the difficulty that cars have with overtaking so the start of this race will be really important. If Rosberg can get away and keep the lead then it’s possible we could see him winning his first race of the season and making the race for the drivers’ title even more interesting.
Sebastian Vettel is back in third with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas in fourth. Top Spanish driver was Carlos Sainz Jr in fifth. There was some encouragement for McLaren who made it through to the second stage of qualifying for the first time this season. Alonso qualified in 13th with Jenson Button one place behind. It’s the first time Alonso has qualified ahead of his team mate this season. They have made some upgrades to both their car and engine for this weekend and those improvements seem to be showing some good signs.
So what can we expect from this Sunday’s race? Well, practice sessions and qualifying again showed the dominance of Mercedes with Rosberg fastest in the first practice and Hamilton dominating the second before Rosberg came out on top in qualifying.
While Mercedes continue to dominate in practice and qualifying, it may still be a slightly different story during the race itself. There’s that significant difference between speed over one lap and pace during the race. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel admits that the gap between his team and Mercedes is “still there.”
Hamilton leads the title race by 27 points from teammate Nico Rosberg with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel a further point behind. In the Constructors’ championship, Mercedes lead Ferrari by 52 points.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says that despite their win in Malaysia, they still have a lot of ground to make up on Mercedes. He admits there has been a significant improvement since the testing sessions held in Barcelona. Vettel said: “What has happened since then for us is very positive but the gap is still there and it is still big.”
Lewis Hamilton is looking for only his second win in the Spanish Grand Prix and believes this year is going better than 2014. Despite his big lead he doesn’t feel that Mercedes are “in the clear” and with other teams making improvements they have to keep on their toes and “continue to be innovative” both on and off the track.
This should be a fascinating Grand Prix and whatever you do, don’t miss the start. Strategy will be really important. It remains to be seen if Rosberg can take advantage for the first time this season.