CHARLES LECLERC will start the Spanish Grand Prix from pole position TODAY.
Max Verstappen had set a provisional pole time with a crisp first run, while points’ leader Leclerc spun on his first attempt.
But the Ferrari man made up for it on his second attempt with a blistering run that eventually turned out to be 0.323s quicker than the Red Bull man, who was having some performance issues.
Carlos Sainz qualified third after stringing together a few clean laps while Mercedes were encouraged by George Russell’s fourth place start.
The Silver Arrows looked much improved after a terrible start to the season and Russell’s performance, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton starting sixth behind Sergio Perez, will give them even more reason to be optimistic.
- TV/live stream: Sky Sports F1/Sky Go
- network: 1 Leclerc 2 Verstappen 3 Sainz
- Start time: 3pm Spain, 2pm UK, 9am ET
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Hamilton grabs P4!
The Mercedes driver shows why he’s a seven-time world champion by wasting no time getting past Sainz.
He said before the race he thinks the car is now capable of fighting with the Ferrari and it seems to be true.
But no one thought he would overtake one after suffering a puncture on lap 1!
Bottas makes a mistake!
The Finnish driver goes too far and lets Sainz through the gap before Hamilton also capitalizes and moves up to P5.
What a drive from the Mercedes driver, these upgrades definitely worked.
10 more rounds!
As expected, Perez Hamilton easily sets the fastest lap just moments after fitting new tyres.
But this is what the podium looks like as it stands:
Bottas follows in fourth but Sainz and Hamilton catch up with the Alfa Romeo driver…
Hamilton drives the fastest lap
The Mercedes man still has it, taking fastest and an extra championship point.
However, Red Bull teammate Russell and Perez have just fitted a new set of slick tires when they attempt to snatch it from him.
Red Bull tells Perez to move
News arrives that Perez is pursuing a different strategy than Max and that he should let him pass.
The Mexican replies: “That’s unfair, but ok.”
And so Verstappen takes the lead in the race and in the championship.
16 rounds left!
Lap 45 – Max pits to give Perez the lead
The Dutch rider handed the lead back to his teammate as he pitted after a fresh set of mediums.
Crucially, he comes out ahead of Russell so it’s still a Red Bull 1-2.
But will Perez give back the lead?
With Leclerc retiring, when he reaches the checkered flag, Max will take the championship lead.
Lap 38 – Max takes the lead
Despite all the DRS problems early in the race, the Dutchman now finds himself at the front.
He caught up with Russell before the Mercedes man pitted for fresh tires.
It looked like he would have to battle teammate Perez for the lead but a change of strategy also sees the Mexican in the pits.
Clever move by Red Bull.
You now have a two-car buffer between you and Russell.
Lewis is on the way!
After a forced tire change on lap 1, the Mercedes driver comes back early for his second stop.
And it seems to be working out, because with the rest of the field, Hamilton is now in sixth place.
Not bad considering he had dropped to 18th at times!
Zhou forced into retirement
The Chinese rider follows Leclerc and retires from the race after a technical issue.
And his Alfa Romeo teammate Valteri Bottas has just been picked up by Verstappen for 3rd place.
Lap 30 – Perez passes Russell and takes the lead
We’re approaching half-time in Barcelona and we have a new leader.
Red Bull driver Perez is currently using a one-stop strategy and has the tires to put the Mercedes ahead.
It will be questionable whether the Mexican can hold out until the end.
Leclerc loses power!
The Ferrari man yells down the radio as his Ferrari loses power.
He comes straight into the pits and doesn’t come out again, meaning Russell takes the lead!
Leclerc’s race is over and it’s his first DNF of the season.
There is no doubt that his championship dreams have been affected by this.
Outstanding driving by Russell!
The Mercedes driver stays in P2 after a great drive to fend off Verstappen.
Max gets through at turn one but Russell fights back after going from wheel to wheel and pushes his way back into second place.
Incredible from the Silver Arrow newcomer.
Lap 22 – Leclerc pits as the leader
The Ferrari pulls into the garage for its first pit stop of the race, but comes out on track with a huge lead.
Meanwhile, Max still shows how he commits the radio to his team as his DRS won’t open despite pressing it “over 50 times”.
Max still has DRS problems
The Red Bull driver was unable to fight for pole yesterday after his DRS valve failed to open on his last flying lap.
But despite claiming the system was fixed before the race, the team radioed him that it’s still not working.
The Dutchman scolds and dazzles in his cockpit. He knows he will need DRS if he wants to win this race.
Leclerc takes advantage
With Max slipping, the Ferrari driver has put a 14 second lead over Perez, who moved up to P2 after Russell pitted for new tyres.
However, we will see that gap close as Leclerc is yet to come to a new set.
And now Verstappen is off!
Almost a copy of Sainz’s spin, the Red Bull driver slid off the track at turn four.
He manages to rejoin the race but has dropped back to P4 and those rocks wouldn’t have done his tires any good.
Meanwhile, Russell is in 2nd place, with Perez in 3rd place.
Hamilton has had enough
After its dreadful start, the Mercedes man radioed his team to shut down the car and save its engine.
It’s an amazing comment considering there was so much hope that they had come around the corner with their new upgrades this weekend.
Sainz spins on lap 7!
The Ferrari man loses his footing and spins into the gravel. Luckily he manages to get back on track but he’s dropped to 11th place.
Nightmare for the Spaniard!
It’s his home race, the crowd wouldn’t have liked to see that.
Hamilton comes into the pits with a puncture!
It’s not the perfect start for the Mercedes driver who wanted to build on his sixth place.
After teaming up with Magnussen he has to pit early which puts him in 18th place.
And it’s lights out!
Leclerc manages to fend off Verstappen in the first corner and keep the lead.
Russell has worked his way up to P3 as Sainz’s poor start.
But Haas driver Kevin Magnussen spins in the gravel after his left front tire flagged Hamilton’s Mercedes.
The drivers set out on the formation lap to get their tires going.
All drivers have now taken their places and the starting grid is clear.
We’re just moments away here now while the riders stay cool under an umbrella.
With a track temperature of 49.2 degrees, it’s almost burning here in Barcelona.
How does Lando deal with this?
McLaren driver Lando Norris fought his way to eleventh place in qualifying yesterday and is said to have felt bad.
He missed the drivers’ parade earlier but it already looks like the heat is taking its toll on him.
The 22-year-old was now squatting next to his car with a bottle of water in his hand.
He’s back in the car now, with the other drivers.
Real Madrid are looking for a replacement for Kylian Mbappe
Madrid were dealt a serious blow yesterday when PSG star Kylian Mbappe turned down his offer to sign a multi-million dollar deal to remain at PSG.
La Liga slammed the move and have wondered how PSG can afford such a deal but Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois is wasting no time.
The Belgian stopper joined the Spanish GP yesterday and swapped jerseys with Williams driver Alex Albon ahead of the race.
Alonso starts at the back
All did not go to plan for the Alpine rider at his home race after yesterday’s retirement in Q1, putting him in 17th on the grid.
But after getting a new engine ahead of the race, the Spaniard has suffered an automatic grid penalty and will be last on the grid.
However, the two-time world champion made a positive impression as he led the drivers’ parade down the track earlier.
He said: “I’m starting from the back, so it can only get better!”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5383572/f1-spanish-grand-prix-practice-live-results-updates-hamilton-verstappen-qualifying/ F1 Spanish Grand Prix LIVE RESULT: Verstappen closes in on big win as Hamilton battles for podium spot