Max Verstappen took his first pole position at the Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluyna – and the 24th pole of his Formula 1 career – during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday, June 3.
“The car was really good,” Verstappen told Marc Gene after the session.
“Of course, qualifying started off a bit tricky with the weather. But, once it started to dry out, and now in Q3 as well, the car was on rails and was really enjoyable to drive today … I love coming to Barcelona in general. I love the track, I love the fans, they really love racing. And I had a lot of great memories here and hopefully tomorrow we can add another one.”
Fernando Alonso became the story of Q3 in unusual fashion so far as this season is concerned. The Spaniard found a disappointing result at the track where he took his last F1 win all the way back in 2013. Though Verstappen ended the session fourth tenths ahead of second placed Sainz, Alonso will take the start of the race from ninth on the grid, ending the session 1.235 seconds adrift of the pole winner.
Pierre Gasly finished the session in fourth, trailed by Lewis Hamilton, however the Frenchman was issued a six-place grid penalty after the fact for two instances of impeding other drivers on their flying laps. Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg and Oscar Piastri also took top-10 starting positions for Sunday’s (June 4) race.
A comparatively calm Q2 could not save a few big names from elimination as the track continued to come to the drivers with progressively falling lap times.
For the second week in a row Sergio Perez will start outside the top 10 on the grid after going off in turn 5 and being unable to put together a suitable lap before the end of the session. Perez ended the day in 11th place, 0.051 seconds short of Hulkenberg
The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and George Russell drew the attention of the stewards when they came together on the pit straight. As the seven-time champion approached his younger teammate, Russell appeared to move out of Hamilton’s way before cutting back to the left side of the track and pushing Hamilton into the grass. Hamilton picked up front-wing damage while Russell continued on.
“You didn’t tell me there was a car behind!” Russell told his team over the radio after the incident.
Russell was ultimately eliminated from Q2 and will start 12th in the Grand Prix.
Eliminated from Q2 were:
11. Sergio Perez
12. George Russell
13. Zhou Guanyu
14. Nyck De Vries
15. Yuki Tsunoda
The first session of the day was red flagged early on, drawing confusion from the commentary booth. Mixed conditions hovering around the circuit saw several drivers slide off track as they attempted to navigate the circuit on dry tires.
Among those drivers was Alex Albon, who went off at turn 5, bringing a fair amount of gravel onto the racing surface as he rejoined.
After racing conditions resumed, an increasingly cooperative track fostered a last moment dash to the top of the charts for much of the field. Gasly, Hamilton, Norris and Hulkenberg took turns sitting in first place while drivers such as Perez and Charles Leclerc watched their names tumble down the pylon.
In the end, Perez scraped into Q2 by the skin of his teeth while Leclerc was left to a shocking elimination in 19th.
Eliminated in Q1 were:
16. Valtteri Bottas
17. Kevin Magnussen
18. Alex Albon
19. Charles Leclerc
20. Logan Sargeant
The 2023 running of the Spanish Grand Prix will go lights out on Sunday, June 4, at 9 a.m. ET with coverage on ESPN
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Editor at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also Co-founded The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region, in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.