Saturday, May 8th, 2021
Vettel struggles with an early exit
Schumacher shines at Hamilton’s 100th pole
For Formula 1 newcomer Mick Schumacher, qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix is over early, as expected – and yet a surprising success. Sebastian Vettel also leaves work early. At the front, Lewis Hamilton shows his extra class and takes first place on the grid for the 100th time.
Lewis Hamilton has long been a driving legend, but the British record world champion continues to drive his Mercedes from one Formula 1 record to the next. In qualifying for the Barcelona Grand Prix, the World Cup leader is once again unbeatable and takes first place on the grid in 1: 16.741 minutes.
Challenger Max Verstappen lands just behind, the Red Bull driver is only 0.036 seconds slower, the top trio completes, as usual, Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes (+0.132 seconds). It is the 100th pole position that Hamilton has conquered. His predecessor in the Silver Arrow, Michael Schumacher, is second in the all-time ranking by a long way and 68 qualifying best times.
His son Mick Schumacher is in the starting line-up on Sunday (3 p.m. / RTL, Sky and in the live ticker at ntv.de), but 18th place is still a success for the reigning Formula 2 champion. Because not only does the Haas driver with almost 0.7 seconds ahead of his Russian team mate Nikita Mazepin clearly in their place – the 21-year-old also beats Nicholas Latifi (Williams), who is a tenth slower than Schumacher. The veteran Kimi Räikkönen in 17th place is only 0.2 seconds missing despite supposedly inferior cars.
Schumacher was correspondingly satisfied in the Sky interview: “Our changes worked well, we managed to get more grip on the front axle. Conclusion: Very happy, the team did a mega job with the car.”
Vettel not satisfied, Pérez disappointing
Sebastian Vettel comments on his 13th place on the grid much less euphorically, not only because Lance Stroll drives faster in the other Aston Martin and is two positions ahead in the results list. “I would have liked a better last shot, there wasn’t much missing. The last sentence [Reifen, Anm. d. Red.] wasn’t that good, then a tenth is gone in no time. The whole midfield is close together. We were close to Q3. I don’t yet know what’s in it tomorrow, “says the four-time world champion, who is still waiting in British Racing Green for the hoped-for improvement over the disastrous previous year at Ferrari.
In Q3 announced by Vettel, but clearly missed, the trio Hamilton / Verstappen / Bottas dominates, which since crossing the finish line in this order at the Grand Prix in Portugal a week ago has set the record for the most frequent combination on the podium in Formula 1 history holds. Fourth place in the qualification in Barcelona is Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari, but already 0.769 seconds behind Hamilton. Esteban Ocon (Alpine / + 0.839) surprised as fifth, followed by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari / + 0.879) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren / + 0.881) with a narrow margin.
Sergio Pérez (+0.960) disappointed in eighth place in the second Red Bull, the Mexican will have to make up many places in the morning of the race in order to be able to support Verstappen in the fight for victory and thus the championship lead. Lando Norris (McLaren / + 1.269) is ninth, the top ten is completed by the local hero and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso (+1.406) in Alpine.