Hamilton records his 150th front row start, Mercedes power reaches 200 pole positions and Vettel fails to qualify in the top ten at Catalunya for the first time since 2008. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix!
HAMILTON ON POLE
Lewis Hamilton took pole for the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix. It’s the 92nd pole position of his career and his fifth pole at Catalunya, overtaking Ayrton Senna for second-most poles at the Spanish Grand Prix.
With pole position, Lewis Hamilton ensures that he will become the first driver in the history of Formula 1 to have lined up on the front row at 150 Grands Prix. He also equals Michael Schumacher’s record of eight front row starts at this circuit.
For the first time since 2015, Mercedes have taken pole position in all of the first six races of the season. This was the eighth consecutive Spanish Grand Prix in which Mercedes have taken pole. Prior to this season, no team had previously taken eight consecutive poles at a circuit – but Mercedes have now completed the feat at both Silverstone and Catalunya. It was also the seventh time in the last eight Spanish Grands Prix that Mercedes have locked-out the front row.
Mercedes now have more poles at Catalunya than any other team, having previously been tied with Ferrari on seven. Ferrari still hold the record for most poles at the Spanish Grand Prix however, with thirteen.
Mercedes have become the third engine manufacturer to have recorded 200 pole positions in Formula 1. The only other manufacturers to have done so are Ferrari and Renault. Ferrari were first to reach the milestone at the 2008 French Grand Prix, while Renault reached 200 at the 2012 Korean Grand Prix.
This is only the third time since 2002 that the driver who was fastest in final practice took pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix. It’s also the first time that the driver who was fastest in Free Practice 3 has taken pole position since last year’s Russian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton secured pole position with a 0.059 second advantage over team-mate Valtteri Bottas. It’s the fourth time that the pole margin has been secured by 0.059 seconds, after the 2002 Hungarian Grand Prix, the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix and the 2017 Russian Grand Prix. On all four occasions, two drivers from the same team locked-out the front row.
This was Lewis Hamilton’s twelfth Q3 appearance at the Spanish Grand Prix, surpassing Fernando Alonso’s previous record of eleven Q3 appearances at the Catalunya circuit. While it’s a record for most Q3 appearances at the track, it’s not a new record for most top ten qualifications here. Michael Schumacher (19), Alonso (15) and Räikkönen (13) have all had more top ten qualifications at the circuit than Hamilton.
THE TOP TEN
Max Verstappen qualified in the top three for the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time. He maintains his 100% Q3 appearance rate at the Catalunya circuit. Michael Schumacher is the only other driver to have reached Q3 on every appearance here. Only Fernando Alonso made more appearances in Q3 before recording a Q2 exit at the track, with his top ten streak coming to an end in 2015 after nine Q3 appearances.
On his return to Formula 1, Sergio Perez recorded his best ever Spanish Grand Prix qualifying result with fourth place. It is also his team’s best ever qualifying result here. With Lance Stroll qualifying fifth, this is the first time that both of the Silverstone-based team’s cars have qualified in the top six for the Spanish Grand Prix in the team’s 30-season history. Their last top five qualification here was in 1995, when Rubens Barrichello qualified fifth for Jordan.
Lance Stroll qualified fifth for the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix, marking the first time that he has made it out of Q1 at the event in his career.
For the first time since 2011, both McLaren drivers qualified inside the top ten for the Spanish Grand Prix. With seventh place, Carlos Sainz equals McLaren’s best qualifying result at the event of the last nine years. Fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso also qualified seventh for the team in 2017.
With Charles Leclerc qualifying ninth and Sebastian Vettel failing to reach Q3, 2020 is the first time in Formula 1’s thirty visits to Catalunya that neither Ferrari driver qualified in the top eight.
OUT IN Q2
Sebastian Vettel failed to reach Q3 at the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time since 2008. This is the first time that Vettel has failed to reach Q3 at two consecutive races since the 2014 Russian and United States Grands Prix.
For only the sixth time in F1’s thirty visits to Catalunya, a Ferrari driver failed to qualify in the top ten. In addition to Vettel, the other Ferrari drivers who failed to qualify in the top ten here are Gerhard Berger in 1993, Eddie Irvine in 1997, Rubens Barrichello in 2005, Kimi Raikkonen in 2009 and Felipe Massa in 2012.
Daniil Kvyat recorded his best qualifying result so far in 2020 with twelfth place. His team-mate Pierre Gasly is yet to qualify below twelfth so far this season.
Daniel Ricciardo qualified outside of the top ten at the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time since he was at Toro Rosso in 2013. Thirteenth is the Australian’s worst qualifying position of the season so far.
Kimi Raikkonen gave Alfa Romeo their first Q2 appearance since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, ending a streak of six consecutive double Q1 eliminations. The team have now qualified in fourteenth in all of the last three seasons at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Esteban Ocon was slowest of the drivers in Q2, ensuring that Renault recorded a double Q2 elimination. This is the second time in their history that the Enstone-based team have recorded a double Q2 exit at the Spanish Grand Prix. They last did so under their Lotus guise in 2015.
OUT IN Q1
Haas had never recorded a Q1 elimination at Catalunya until both cars were eliminated in Q1 at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix. This is the first time in nine appearances at the Spanish Grand Prix that Romain Grosjean has been eliminated in Q1, and the first time in six appearances that Kevin Magnussen has been out in Q1.
Williams recorded their first double Q1 exit since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. George Russell is still yet to be out-qualified by a team-mate on any of his 27 Formula 1 appearances.
Qualifying in last place, Antonio Giovinazzi made this the seventh consecutive year in which an Alfa Romeo (formerly Sauber) driver has been eliminated in Q1 at the Spanish Grand Prix. This is the lowest qualifying position of Giovinazzi’s career and the first time that he has been slowest of all the drivers. It’s the fourth time in the last five races that the Italian has qualified on the back row of the grid.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.