Hamilton records his 100th pole position, Red Bull qualify on the front row at Catalunya for the first time since 2011 and Alonso is out-qualified for a third race in a row. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix!
HAMILTON REACHES 100 POLES
It was an historic day at the Spanish Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton became the first driver in Formula 1 history to record 100 pole positions. This was Hamilton’s sixth pole at the Spanish Grand Prix, as well as his ninth consecutive front row start at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Hamilton’s pole makes 2021 the ninth consecutive season in which Mercedes have taken pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Mercedes’ pole position sees them climb to third on the list of most poles for a constructor in Formula 1. This was their 129th pole position, which sees them overtake Williams’ tally of 128 – their most recent coming at this circuit nine years ago.
Hamilton took his 100th pole position by 0.036 seconds – the fourth smallest pole margin of his career to date. Read more: Lewis Hamilton’s 100 Poles in Statistics.
For a fifth consecutive season, the driver who was fastest in Free Practice 2 at the Spanish Grand Prix went on to take pole position.
This was the third time that pole position has been decided by 0.036 seconds. That was also the pole margin at the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix and the 2003 Monaco Grand Prix. It’s the ninth time that pole has been decided by less than a tenth of a second at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
IN THE TOP 10
Max Verstappen recorded his first front row start at the Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying in second place. It’s the first time a Red Bull driver has qualified on the front row at the Spanish Grand Prix since Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber locked-out the front row of the grid at the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix.
After setting the fastest time in Q2, Max Verstappen ensured that he would remain one of only two drivers to reach Q3 on every appearance at the Spanish Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher is the only other driver to achieve the feat since the current qualifying system was introduced in 2006.
Valtteri Bottas qualified in third place. This is the first time since 2017 that Bottas has not qualified on the front row at the Spanish Grand Prix. It marks only the second time in the last nine seasons that Mercedes have not locked-out the front row at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Qualifying in fourth place, Charles Leclerc recorded his best Spanish Grand Prix qualifying result to date. His previous best was fifth place in 2019.
Both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso progressed to Q3 with Alpine. It’s the first time Team Enstone have reached Q3 with both cars at the Spanish Grand Prix since 2013. This was also the first time that the team has recorded a double Q3 appearance since the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
For a second consecutive race, Ocon qualified in the top six. This is the first time in his career that the Frenchman has qualified in the top six at two successive races. It’s the first time since 2017 that Ocon has reached Q3 at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Esteban Ocon’s fifth place was the best qualifying result for Team Enstone at the Spanish Grand Prix since Romain Grosjean also qualified fifth for Lotus in 2014.
With sixth place, Carlos Sainz recorded his best home qualifying result since setting the fifth fastest time on his maiden Spanish Grand Prix appearance with Toro Rosso in 2015. This is only the second time that Sainz has been out-qualified by his team-mate on home soil.
Qualifying in eighth place, Sergio Perez became the first Red Bull driver to qualify outside of the top six on the grid at the Spanish Grand Prix since both drivers qualified outside the top six in 2015.
Lando Norris set the fastest time in Q1. It was the first time a McLaren driver has been fastest in a qualifying session since Norris himself was fastest in Q1 at the 2019 United States Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso’s session-topping time in Q1 at the 2017 British Grand Prix is the only other time McLaren have been fastest in a qualifying session in the V6 hybrid era.
Norris’ session-topping Q1 time marked the first time that McLaren have been fastest in a practice session at the Spanish Grand Prix since 2012.
With ninth place, Norris went on to record his worst qualifying position of the season to date. It’s the first time this year he has not qualified in seventh place. It’s the worst qualifying position for the driver who was fastest in Q1 since Charles Leclerc qualified tenth at the 2019 German Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso was out-qualified by his team-mate for a third consecutive race. It’s the first time that the Spaniard has been out-qualified at three races in a row since the 2013 Japanese, Indian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. This is only the sixth time in his career that Alonso has been out-qualified at three races in a row.
OUT IN Q2
With Lance Stroll eleventh and Sebastian Vettel thirteenth, this was the first time since the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that neither of the Silverstone-based team’s cars reached Q3.
For the first time since the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, neither AlphaTauri driver reached Q3 at the Spanish Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly recorded the team’s best qualifying result of the day with twelfth place, while Yuki Tsunoda recorded the second Q1 exit of his career.
This was the first time since 2018 that Pierre Gasly has not qualified in the top ten at the Spanish Grand Prix. His result ended a streak of six consecutive Q3 appearances.
Both Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell progressed past Q1 at the Spanish Grand Prix for the first time in their F1 careers.
Giovinazzi’s fourteenth place makes this the fourth consecutive season in which an Alfa Romeo (formerly Sauber) driver has qualified fourteenth at the Spanish Grand Prix.
George Russell became the first Williams driver to reach Q2 at the Spanish Grand Prix since Felipe Massa in 2017.
Russell progressed to Q2 for a fourth successive race. It equals the longest streak of non-Q1 eliminations in his career to date. The only other time he has reached Q2 at four consecutive races was between the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
OUT IN Q1
Qualifying in seventeenth place, Kimi Raikkonen recorded his first Q1 exit at the Spanish Grand Prix since 2009. This was the Finn’s worst qualifying attempt at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since he qualified 20th at the 2003 Spanish Grand Prix.
Prior to 2021, Haas had never qualified below seventeenth position at the Spanish Grand Prix. That changed, as Mick Schumacher qualified in eighteenth, and Nikita Mazepin set the slowest time.
Haas recorded a double Q1 elimination for a tenth successive race. This is the second year in a row that both Haas cars have been out in Q1 at the Spanish Grand Prix.
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.