Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Hamilton sure he can make a winning start

2016 Spanish Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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With president Sergio Marchionne’s demand for wins ringing in their ears, Ferrari chose a bad time to produce their worst qualifying performance of the year so far.

Th team admitted to being stumped by the slump: having never been more than 0.254 seconds behind the Mercedes throughout practice, the 1.1s gap in qualifying indicates there was more to this than just Mercedes turning their engines up.

In the V6 hybrid turbo era this has been a circuit where Mercedes has flexed its muscles. They were on pole position by a second in 2014 and 0.7 seconds last year. This year that came down to 0.68 seconds – but it’s Red Bull, not Ferrari, who are leading the charge.

Mercedes’ straight-line speed advantage over the Red Bulls should stand them in good stead for the sprint to turn one at the beginning of tomorrow’s race. A lot hinges on the start as the Circuit de Catalunya is one of the toughest circuits for overtaking.

Last year Hamilton fumbled his getaway from second on the grid, fell behind Sebastian Vettel and spent the rest of the race trying to get back ahead. He will feel the imperative to avoid a repeat all the more keenly as he has started poorly in three of the four races so far this year.

However Hamilton is very confident it won’t be a problem tomorrow. “I think whatever issues we had they definitely have been rectified,” he said.

“I think ultimately with starts, I think for all of us in Formula One, it’s always up and down. The starts have been great so far this weekend so I don’t see why they won’t be tomorrow.”

Hamilton added he had “the best start of the whole grid” in China but a “so-so” getaway in Russia. But if he gets away cleanly tomorrow and takes the lead and first call on strategy it is doubtful anyone will be able to beat him.

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3 vs 33 for P3

Max Verstappen appeared to be keeping new Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo honest in qualifying but the Australian demonstrated he had the pace in hand when he needed it. However Verstappen’s eventual deficit of 0.407s compares well with Kvyat’s average gap over the first four races of 0.749s.

It sets up what should be an absorbing scrap for the final podium place between the pair of them, one which may well include the two recovering Ferraris.

Sebastian Vettel is convinced his car “is quicker than P6”, where he qualified. If they can disrupted the Red Bulls on the run to turn one Frrari may yet salvage something from this weekend.

Qualifying times in full

DriverCarQ1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’23.2141’22.159 (-1.055)1’22.000 (-0.159)
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’23.0021’22.759 (-0.243)1’22.280 (-0.479)
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’23.7491’23.585 (-0.164)1’22.680 (-0.905)
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1’23.5781’23.178 (-0.400)1’23.087 (-0.091)
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’23.7961’23.504 (-0.292)1’23.113 (-0.391)
6Sebastian VettelFerrari1’24.1241’23.688 (-0.436)1’23.334 (-0.354)
7Valtteri BottasWilliams1’24.2511’24.023 (-0.228)1’23.522 (-0.501)
8Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso1’24.4961’24.077 (-0.419)1’23.643 (-0.434)
9Sergio PerezForce India1’24.6981’24.003 (-0.695)1’23.782 (-0.221)
10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’24.5781’24.192 (-0.386)1’23.981 (-0.211)
11Nico HulkenbergForce India1’24.4631’24.203 (-0.260)
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’24.5831’24.348 (-0.235)
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’24.6961’24.445 (-0.251)
14Romain GrosjeanHaas1’24.7161’24.480 (-0.236)
15Kevin MagnussenRenault1’24.6691’24.625 (-0.044)
16Esteban GutierrezHaas1’24.4061’24.778 (+0.372)
17Jolyon PalmerRenault1’24.903
18Felipe MassaWilliams1’24.941
19Marcus EricssonSauber1’25.202
20Felipe NasrSauber1’25.579
21Pascal WehrleinManor1’25.745
22Rio HaryantoManor1’25.939

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton22.370 (1)30.779 (1)28.736 (1)
Nico Rosberg22.500 (2)30.897 (2)28.768 (2)
Daniel Ricciardo22.690 (4)31.059 (4)28.931 (3)
Max Verstappen22.652 (3)31.170 (5)29.151 (4)
Kimi Raikkonen22.724 (5)31.054 (3)29.335 (8)
Sebastian Vettel22.724 (5)31.326 (7)29.284 (6)
Valtteri Bottas22.810 (8)31.398 (8)29.314 (7)
Carlos Sainz Jnr22.849 (10)31.320 (6)29.474 (10)
Sergio Perez22.732 (7)31.523 (9)29.527 (11)
Fernando Alonso23.071 (15)31.612 (10)29.198 (5)
Nico Hulkenberg22.824 (9)31.687 (11)29.543 (12)
Jenson Button23.131 (17)31.690 (12)29.454 (9)
Daniil Kvyat23.095 (16)31.747 (14)29.603 (15)
Romain Grosjean23.003 (13)31.767 (15)29.639 (16)
Kevin Magnussen22.930 (11)31.830 (16)29.682 (17)
Esteban Gutierrez22.945 (12)31.690 (12)29.752 (18)
Jolyon Palmer23.022 (14)32.189 (18)29.594 (14)
Felipe Massa23.327 (22)32.055 (17)29.559 (13)
Marcus Ericsson23.198 (19)32.213 (19)29.791 (19)
Felipe Nasr23.266 (21)32.367 (20)29.946 (20)
Pascal Wehrlein23.256 (20)32.496 (21)29.966 (21)
Rio Haryanto23.155 (18)32.500 (22)30.283 (22)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Pascal WehrleinManorMercedes341.5 (212.2)
2Rio HaryantoManorMercedes341.0 (211.9)-0.5
3Esteban GutierrezHaasFerrari336.6 (209.2)-4.9
4Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes336.6 (209.2)-4.9
5Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes336.5 (209.1)-5.0
6Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes336.3 (209.0)-5.2
7Max VerstappenRed BullTAG Heuer335.4 (208.4)-6.1
8Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes334.9 (208.1)-6.6
9Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes334.6 (207.9)-6.9
10Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes334.5 (207.8)-7.0
11Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari334.2 (207.7)-7.3
12Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari333.9 (207.5)-7.6
13Felipe NasrSauberFerrari333.8 (207.4)-7.7
14Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari332.9 (206.9)-8.6
15Marcus EricssonSauberFerrari332.4 (206.5)-9.1
16Daniil KvyatToro RossoFerrari330.4 (205.3)-11.1
17Kevin MagnussenRenaultRenault329.4 (204.7)-12.1
18Jenson ButtonMcLarenHonda329.3 (204.6)-12.2
19Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG Heuer328.5 (204.1)-13.0
20Carlos Sainz JnrToro RossoFerrari328.0 (203.8)-13.5
21Fernando AlonsoMcLarenHonda327.7 (203.6)-13.8
22Jolyon PalmerRenaultRenault327.5 (203.5)-14.0

Over to you

Share your views on the Spanish Grand Prix in the comments.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Hamilton sure he can make a winning start”

  1. WillOfTheSupremo
    14th May 2016, 18:43

    Alonso set the 5th fastest lap on the 3rd sector-and it seemed kinda scruffy from live TV. I guess that torgue is high under that cover.

    Can’t wait for Monte, then…

    1. Thiago Silvério
      14th May 2016, 21:08

      Good point. It looks McLaren’s claim of being in second best chassis group (alongside Mercedes and Ferrari, and behind Red Bull) may have sense.

      1. Yes, it showed already last year in Monaco when Button was on for Q3 but for a yellow flag, and finished in the points on straight performance, and Alonso could have too without unreliability. I think they’ll fight the Ferraris for 3rd best team in Monaco this year, with Red Bull being on the level of the Mercs, could be an outright win for them.

        1. @hunocsi that was a different car…..

          1. Yes, but this year’s car is an evolution of that, and I just wanted to point out that last year, when the Honda PU was even further behind the rest than now, the car was pretty good in that place. The developed car and developed engine should stand an even better chance.

          2. Indeed @hunocsi . Which is refreshing news for all the McLaren fans. Still a lot of work ahead but they are heading the right way.

  2. Okay Fernando. Whatever you say

  3. Red Bull long runs were exceptional and both drivers are very, very good with tyres. Any chance they can beat a Mercedes?

  4. ColdFly F1 (@)
    15th May 2016, 10:15

    Ricciardo being very strong in sector 3 (good grip) and amongst the slowest in the speedtrap makes me think that he has slightly more wing than the rest.
    This might hurt him on the straight come Sunday, especially with DRS open on the trailing cars!

  5. In 18 years never been so excited for a Grand Prix. (Dutchman here).

    1. Congratulations, you guys have a star. I could imagine a Max vs Seb thriller at some point :)

Comments are closed.