Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hamilton Edges Out White-Hot Teammate for Spanish Grand Prix Pole


The opening Formula 1 round on the European continent for 2016, the Spanish Grand Prix is the 5th race on a tour dominated by Mercedes AMG driver Nico Rosberg. All four races so far in this 2016 season saw the German driver take the top spot on the podium and has resulted in an sizeable early lead in the overall points championship battle. No one more than teammate Lewis Hamilton would like a chance to unseat Rosberg from the throne of Formula 1.

In qualifying at the 4.655-kilometer Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a tight battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg through all three timed sessions. Ultimately, a lap time of exactly 1 minute and 22 seconds recorded by Hamilton proved enough to take pole position for Sunday. The three-time and reigning Formula 1 champion's best time was 0.280 seconds quicker than his fellow Mercedes AMG competitor. Hamilton's third pole of the 2016 season, this qualifying outing followed two consecutive events where power unit problems caused difficulty for the #44 machine.  

The Spanish Grand Prix is the first race where the effects of a highly-publicized driver swap will be on exhibit. Following a performance at the Russian Grand Prix where Daniil Kvyat's was responsible for a first lap accident, the Red Bull Racing driver's shaky credibility led to him being removed from the TAG Heuer-powered machine. Now occupying the second Red Bull race car is sophomore hot-shoe Max Verstappen who received a promotion from the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, Kvyat was reassigned to the Toro Rosso; the Red Bull Racing affiliate team where he started his Formula 1 career in 2014.

On the time sheet in qualifying in Spain, Verstappen has appeared to pass the first step in climbing to the four-time constructor championship-winning operation with flying colours. Starting fourth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the 18-year-old Belgium-born Dutch driver has been suggested as a future superstar in the sport. Max Verstappen's veteran teammate Daniel Ricciardo third place effort in qualifying allows the Red Bull Racing team to fill the second row behind the Mercedes AMG cars.

Driving a Toro Rosso-Ferrari for the first time in 2016, Daniil Kvyat's qualified a respectable 13th. However, Kvyat's new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr bested him on the time chart securing the 8th place starting spot. As a Spaniard, Sainz's home grand prix start sees him placed two positions ahead of fellow countryman and three-time world champion Fernando Alonso. In 10th place, Alonso's last career Formula 1 victory came at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.    

Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel fill the third row of the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix starting grid. Raikkonen's 1-minute, 23.113-second lap time was more than two-tenths of a second quicker than Vettel. Valtteri Bottas driving for Williams Martini Racing is well separated from his teammate after qualifying in 7th place on Saturday. Citing traffic, Felipe Massa in the other Williams-Mercedes was unable to log a sufficiently quick lap time to advance beyond Q1 resulting in an 18th place starting position.

The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix is set 66 laps prepared to start at 2:00 pm local time (6:00 am Eastern time).

2016 Formula 1
Spanish Grand Prix
Starting Grid

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG Heuer
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG Heuer
5 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari
6 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari
7 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jr Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes-Benz
10 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes-Benz
12 22 Jenson Button McLaren Honda
13 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
14 8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team Ferrari
15 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault Renault
16 9 Esteban Gutierrez Haas F1 Team Ferrari
17 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault
18 19 Felipe Massa Williams F1 Mercedes-Benz
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari
20 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari
21 28 Pascal Wehrlein Manor Mercedes-Benz
22 98 Rio Haryanto Manor Mercedes-Benz

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