Hamilton beats Maldonado to Barcelona pole

Hamilton beats Maldonado to Barcelona pole

12 May 2012 – Lewis Hamilton has sealed McLaren’s 150th Formula 1 pole position in Spain on Saturday afternoon. The Englishman, on his first Barcelona pole after a completely mixed up qualifying session, will share the front row with Pastor Maldonado’s Williams. Both Jenson Button and Mark Webber were eliminated in Q2.

On a baking hot day in Spain, qualifying always did promise to be exciting but this afternoon has ended up delivered a truly remarkable result. Not only was there a track temperature of 41°C (106°F), but the wind speed also increased to throw yet another variable into the mix when tyre management was already absolutely crucial for all.

Narain Karthikeyan’s disastrous weekend continued; as he ran into more troubles for HRT, the Indian is cemented to the back of the grid and missed the 107 percent cut-off. It remains to be seen whether he will be allowed to race, with only his lap times from third practice being able to serve as any evidence of pace for the FIA.

As Jean-Éric Vergne improved to avoid a fourth straight Q1 elimination, Bruno Senna was under pressure to remove himself from the first drop zone of the day; however, repeating an error of yesterday, the Brazilian took too much kerb at Turn 12 and ended his day in the gravel trap. He will start Sunday’s race from 18th position on the grid - all the more embarrassing when team-mate Maldonado is on the front row.

More drama followed in Q2. Jenson Button was both frustrated and confused to suffer from both oversteer and understeer today, perhaps as a result of the changing winds around the track, as he missed the cut and starts 11th. Confirming that the pole-sitters of 2009 to 2011 had been removed in one fell swoop, Mark Webber was caught out and saw his name tumble to 12th on the timesheets as he sat in the garage.

Webber starts 12th but with four new sets of tyres
Also out of action in Q2 were the Force India and Toro Rosso duos, occupying positions 13 to 16, as well as the Ferrari of Felipe Massa; the 2007 pole-sitter and winner briefly sat in the top ten but was duly bumped back down the order for Ferrari. Further back, Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Caterham team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for the first time as Charles Pic again got the better of Marussia partner Timo Glock.

Heading into the grid-deciding phase that is Q3, Kamui Kobayashi could not take part after his Sauber stopped on-track at the end of Q2. It initially looked as though only two lap times may be posted, with the field desperate to save their tyres, but eventually only Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher – eighth and ninth in the classification – decided to end the period early. In the case of Vettel, he did not want to start the race on the Soft compound; for team-mate Webber, he has one extra set of tyres for tomorrow - carrying no less than four new sets into the race.

Williams: Back at the front
With just two minutes left on the clock, several runners finally elected to return to the track. This brought a flurry of changes on the timesheets in the final seconds, with Fernando Alonso delighting the home crowd by briefly seizing the top spot, as he had also done when driving for Renault four years ago. Grosjean, Räikkönen, Pérez and Rosberg slotted behind him in the final order. Remarkably, Maldonado grabbed provisional pole – continuing his speed of practice – before Hamilton rounded the final corner to establish his lap time of 1:21.707. The 2008 World Champion has now celebrated three poles and two second places in qualifying this year.

As Hamilton continues his search for a first 2012 win, Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix promises to bring a titanic battle, with Red Bull having saved more sets of tyres than the majority of their rivals but starting down in eighth and 12th places. Curiously, Hamilton stopped on his slowing down lap with a technical problem which is yet to be diagnosed. Should for any reason he lose his position, such as taking a gearbox penalty, Maldonado will inherit a maiden F1 pole and Williams’ first since 2010.


The 2012 Spanish Grand Prix begins at 2pm local time (BST +1) on Sunday and can also be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 27 June 2016

  2. Video: Chandhok onboard at Goodwood 11:33

    Video: Chandhok onboard at Goodwood

    Ride onboard with Williams Heritage Driver Karun Chandhok as he pilots the FW08C at Goodwood.

    F1
  3. Rosberg eyes third straight Austrian GP win 11:19

    Rosberg eyes third straight Austrian GP win

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has set his sights on securing a third successive Austrian Grand Prix victory at this year's event…

    F1
  4. Assen hints at potential Formula 1 interest 09:28

    Assen hints at potential Formula 1 interest

    Assen has indicated that it would be interested in hosting Formula 1 in the future, should a Dutch Grand Prix make a return…

    F1
  5. Salo tips Bottas to end up at Mercedes 08:32

    Salo tips Bottas to end up at Mercedes

    Mika Salo says he is "pretty sure" that fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas will make the move to Mercedes later in his Formula 1…

    F1
  6. Video of the Day: Testing Fangio's cars 05:00

    Video of the Day: Testing Fangio's cars

    Formula E's Bruno Senna and Jérôme d'Ambrosio tries some of Juan Manuel Fangio's cars in Argentina.

    FE
  7. Sunday 26 June 2016

  8. Power outduels Kanaan to Road America win 21:01

    Power outduels Kanaan to Road America win

    Will Power won a dramatic and frenetic shootout at the end of IndyCar's return to the legendary Road America circuit on…

    Indy
  9. 18:12

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Assen

    MotoGP
  10. Lorenzo considered withdrawing at Assen 18:11

    Lorenzo considered withdrawing at Assen

    Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has admitted he considered withdrawing from the Dutch TT as he struggled for performance…

    MotoGP
  11. Márquez lauds 'important' Dutch TT result 16:21

    Márquez lauds 'important' Dutch TT result

    Honda rider Marc Márquez hailed an "important" race at the Dutch TT as he opened up a solid advantage in the MotoGP…

    MotoGP
  12. Espargaró secures two-year Aprilia switch 16:12

    Espargaró secures two-year Aprilia switch

    Aprilia has confirmed that Aleix Espargaró will ride for the team in 2017 and 2018, alongside Sam Lowes, meaning the outfit…

    MotoGP
  13. Miller ecstatic to reward Honda's faith 15:55

    Miller ecstatic to reward Honda's faith

    Jack Miller says his shock maiden MotoGP victory justifies Honda's faith in him graduating from Moto3 straight to the premier…

    MotoGP
  14. Delétraz triumphs in second Paul Ricard race 15:12

    Delétraz triumphs in second Paul Ricard race

    Louis Delétraz narrowed the gap to championship leader Tom Dillmann as he claimed his second Formula V8 3.5 victory of the…

    FV8 3.5
  15. Miller takes shock maiden win at Assen 14:25

    Miller takes shock maiden win at Assen

    Marc VDS rider Jack Miller claimed a shock maiden MotoGP victory during a thrilling topsy-turvy race at a wet Assen, despite…

    MotoGP
  16. Hamilton: Rosberg relationship 'really good' 10:51

    Hamilton: Rosberg relationship 'really good'

    Lewis Hamilton has described his current relationship with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg as "really good" and reckons it has…

    F1
  17. Stroll builds lead with double Norisring win 10:02

    Stroll builds lead with double Norisring win

    Williams development driver Lance Stroll cemented his advantage at the top of the F3 standings by winning twice and finishing…

    F3
  18. Renault sees back row as a 'one-off' 09:08

    Renault sees back row as a 'one-off'

    Renault's back-row qualifying result at last weekend's European Grand Prix in Baku has been described as a "one-off" occurrence…

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Hamilton's Green Hell 05:24

    Video of the Day: Hamilton's Green Hell

    In a trailer for Mercedes' new AMG GT-R, Lewis Hamilton tackles a different version of the 'Green Hell'.

    F1
  20. Saturday 25 June 2016

  21. 22:38

    IndyCar photos: Saturday at Road America

    Indy
  22. Power secures pole at Road America 22:36

    Power secures pole at Road America

    Will Power calmly cruised to pole position at Road America on Saturday, staying 0.16s clear of the Ganassi duo of Scott Dixon…

    Indy
  23. 17:20

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  24. MotoGP to ban winglets from 2017 17:18

    MotoGP to ban winglets from 2017

    The Grand Prix Commission has elected to ban the use of winglets in MotoGP from the start of the 2017 season. The aerodynamic…

    MotoGP
  25. Lorenzo 'didn't feel safe' in wet conditions 16:57

    Lorenzo 'didn't feel safe' in wet conditions

    Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo admitted that he "didn't feel safe or comfortable" riding in wet conditions as he…

    MotoGP
  26. Orudzhev keeps Nissany at bay for win 15:51

    Orudzhev keeps Nissany at bay for win

    Egor Orudzhev resisted a late attack from Roy Nissany to collect his second win of the Formula V8 3.5 season at Paul…

    FV8 3.5
  27. Video: Road America practice highlights 14:34

    Video: Road America practice highlights

    Watch highlights from practice as IndyCar returns to Road America for this weekend's Kohler Grand Prix.

    Indy
  28. 14:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Assen

    MotoGP
  29. Dovizioso takes pole at damp Assen 13:59

    Dovizioso takes pole at damp Assen

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso claimed his first pole position of the season after storming to top spot during qualifying for the…

    MotoGP
  30. Assen gets 10-year MotoGP extension 11:17

    Assen gets 10-year MotoGP extension

    MotoGP organisers have confirmed that Assen will continue to host the Dutch TT until at least 2026 after a new 10-year deal was…

    MotoGP
  31. FIA moves to reward 'safer' drivers 10:36

    FIA moves to reward 'safer' drivers

    Drivers who avoid collecting penalty points in FIA-organised categories will be rewarded with points towards their Formula 1…

    F1
  32. Celis Jr. set for Austria practice run 10:04

    Celis Jr. set for Austria practice run

    Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr. will return to the cockpit of the VJM09 during Friday practice for next…

    F1
  33. Dovizioso tops third Dutch TT practice 09:51

    Dovizioso tops third Dutch TT practice

    Andrea Dovizioso maintained Ducati's position at the head of the field for the Dutch TT during a tightly-contested third…

    MotoGP
  34. Feature: Who should partner Vettel in 2017? 09:22

    Feature: Who should partner Vettel in 2017?

    With Nico Rosberg set to extend his stay at Mercedes, the key to this year's driver market appears to revolve around Ferrari…

    F1
  35. IndyCar confirms revised Texas plan 07:50

    IndyCar confirms revised Texas plan

    IndyCar officials have confirmed plans for resuming the Firestone 600, which will take place at the Texas Motor Speedway at the…

    Indy
  36. Video of the Day: 'Ferraristi per Sempre' 05:26

    Video of the Day: 'Ferraristi per Sempre'

    Earlier this week, Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene were present at the opening of the new…

    F1
  37. Friday 24 June 2016

  38. 18:32

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Assen

    MotoGP
  39. Rossi to use standard frame at Assen 18:24

    Rossi to use standard frame at Assen

    Valentino Rossi has dropped Yamaha's new frame for the remainder of the Dutch TT, after testing it in practice, while team-mate…

    MotoGP
  40. Leclerc set for five FP1 outings with Haas 15:14

    Leclerc set for five FP1 outings with Haas

    Ferrari Driver Academy member Charles Leclerc is set to make five Formula 1 practice outings with the Haas team in 2016…

    F1
  41. Iannone stays on top in second practice 14:06

    Iannone stays on top in second practice

    Andrea Iannone remained at the top of the times with a late charge during Friday afternoon's second practice session for the…

    MotoGP
  42. Ricciardo expects stronger Austria showing 12:59

    Ricciardo expects stronger Austria showing

    Daniel Ricciardo is expecting Red Bull to enjoy a stronger showing at this year's Austrian Grand Prix, the squad's home event…

    F1
  43. Video: Lewis Hamilton's Baku trouble 11:07

    Video: Lewis Hamilton's Baku trouble

    In Mercedes' latest Studio Show, power unit chief Andy Cowell explains what de-rating is and Sporting Director Ron Meadows…

    F1
  44. Salo: Ferrari should keep Räikkönen 10:12

    Salo: Ferrari should keep Räikkönen

    Ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Salo reckons Ferrari should keep Kimi Räikkönen into 2017, for what would be a fourth successive…

    F1
more news