New Track Record secures third consecutive pole for Bottas

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Valtteri Bottas secured his third pole of the season as he beat his team-mate Lewis Hamilton by six-tenths of a second.

The Finn set a new track record on his way to his ninth pole of his F1 career.

Mercedes dominated yet again as Hamilton managed to beat Sebastian Vettel to the front of the grid to start Sunday’s race with another 1-2.

With a one-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, another victory in Spain would cement Bottas’ standing as a serious title challenger in 2019 โ€“ something he is keen to press home.

SpanishGP_2019 Qualifying Results
Qualifying Results
Source: F1/Twitter

“By the time Quali 3 [arrived] it was just getting better and better,” Bottas said.

“I really enjoyed that, enjoyed the adrenaline rush you get from driving those laps so I’m very pleased.

“Practice 3 was difficult obviously with the spin, so I just forgot that and moved on.

“It’s started well, the season, and the way I hoped for. I feel better and better in the car so I look forward to tomorrow.”

Hamilton displayed impressive speed in the last free practice on Saturday morning, but couldnโ€™t convert it into pole after Q3, with Bottas twice breaking the lap record on the day.

The Brit admits he didnโ€™t deserve to finish in first.

โ€œFirstly, Valtteri did a fantastic job. He’s been quick all weekend. I think, on my side, I just didn’t put the laps together,โ€ Hamilton told Jenson Button on the grid

โ€œSo, the last couple of laps, were, in Q3 particularly, just weren’t strong. I had to go out to early because I came in too early.

โ€œSo I had to go out, first, ahead of everyone. Ultimately, it just wasn’t a good enough job.โ€

Sebastian Vettel was third and 0.866s off the pace, less than a tenth quicker than fourth-best Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Charles Leclerc only had one run in Q3 thanks to having to use two sets of soft Pirellis in Q2 after compromising his first run by running wide at Campsa – also picking up some minor floor damage.

He put in two attempts on his one set of tyres, but ended up third and over two tenths slower than Verstappen – though he stayed ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly.

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen made good on the promise the upgraded Haas showed in practice by taking seventh and eighth place, with Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat ninth.

Daniel Ricciardo was slowest of those in Q3 in 10th, and anyway must serve a three-place grid penalty for reversing into Kvyat in the Azerbaijan GP two weeks ago.

Lando Norris was the best of those who didn’t reach Q3 in 11th place after being bumped down a position by Leclerc’s late improvement in Q2.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon, like his team-mate, only had one run on fresh softs in Q2 and ended up 12th after running wide at Turn 5.

Carlos Sainz Jr made an error on what should have been his quickest lap and was 13th ahead of the lead Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.

Nico Hulkenberg was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th place, 19 thousandths slower than team-mate Ricciardo.

Hulkenberg crashed at the Turn 4 right hander on his first run before he set a time, but was able to recover to the pits despite crunching his front wing.

He returned to the track in the closing stages and briefly lifted himself out of the dropzone with his first flying lap on the second set of options – although his pace was hindered by having switched to an older-spec front wing.

But Raikkonen then improved to push him down to 16th, with Hulkenberg finding two tenths on his second flier but not quite enough to escape.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was eliminated for the fifth time in five 2019 races in 17th place, two tenths faster than 18th quickest Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo.

George Russell won the intra-Williams battle for 19th place despite a spin out of the corner before the chicane on his first run, outpacing Robert Kubica by 1.2s after the Pole failed to improve on his second run.

But Russell will drop back to last when his five-place grid penalty for having a gearbox change due to his practice crash is applied.

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