Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas denies Hamilton by six-tenths to take third pole position in a row

2019 Spanish Grand Prix qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas scored his third consecutive pole position in a row, beating team mate Lewis Hamilton by six tenths of a second in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.


Mercedes led the way in the first phase of qualifying, though Hamilton found traffic in the middle of his first flying effort. That allowed Bottas in to lead the way. Verstappen impressed for Red Bull, setting the third-quickest time.

But the real action was in the battle to gain a spot in Q2. The Renault drivers were in danger of dropping out, and Nico Hulkenberg put himself at a disadvantage by understeering into a barrier at turn three. But he limped back into the pits and was able to continue.

A late effort put him 15th and potentially safe, though he was inside by less than a tenth of a second. He was vulnerable to the last runners, including Kimi Raikkonen, who became the only Alfa Romeo driver to escape the bottom five with a tidy effort half a second faster than his team mate.

Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo grabbed the last two places in Q2, the latter displaying his team mate by less than two-hundredths of a second. “I’m sorry about that guys,” said Hulkenberg afterwards.

Lance Stroll was also on the wrong side of the divide, missing out on Q2 by less than a tenth of a second. It’s the fifth time in as many races he’s failed to progress beyond Q1.

The Williams pair also dropped out as usual. Despite his final practice crash and a spin early in Q1, George Russell out-qualified Robert Kubica once more. The pair were separated by over a second, Kubica saying he was held up by a Ferrari and complaining of oversteer on his final set of tyres.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Nico HulkenbergRenault1’18.404
17Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’18.471
18Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’18.664
19George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’19.072
20Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’20.254

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Leclerc cut things very fine in Q2. He slipped outside the top 10 and was the final driver to set a time at the end of the session, urging his team to keep him updated on the progress of their rivals. However he coolly delivered a lap within a tenth of a second of his team mate, and took his place in the final phase of qualifying.

Bottas also did another run at the end despite being comfortably through into Q3 already. He became the first driver to break the 76 second barrier, lowering the track record his team mate had already broken earlier in the session.

The McLaren drivers looked like potential Q3 contenders, but neither of them made it. Lando Norris looked in with a chance when he took eighth with his last effort, but Leclerc and others were still to run, and he was bumped down to 11th.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was almost a tenth of a second quicker than him in the first sector. But at the end of the lap he skidded and run wide in the chicane.

Like Norris, Raikkonen initially took a place in the top 10 but dropped out as others improved. Perez also made it no further but Ricciardo. having left his team mate behind in Q3, took his Renault into Q3.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’17.338
12Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’17.445
13Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’17.599
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’17.788
15Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’17.886

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The first runs in Q3 proved decisive, and Bottas’s was superior. A 1’15.406 by the Mercedes driver smashed the previous track record, and Hamilton was unable to match him, complaining of traffic from the sole remaining Renault. “You told me really late about Ricciardo,” he complained on the radio.

Ferrari weren’t in the fight. Sebastian Vettel took third, eight-tenths of a second slower than Bottas. Leclerc, now running off-sequence due to his enforced extra run in Q2, could only manage fifth. Max Verstappen, as ever, took advantage, planting his Red Bull on the second row of the grid.

Several drivers had gone off during the course of the session and by the end of Q3 gravel had strayed onto the racing line at several corners. However the session stayed green, and drivers struggled to find improvements on their final laps.

Pierre Gasly kept his Red Bull aheda of the two Haas drivers, while Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10.

Top ten in Q3

1Valtteri BottasMercedes1’15.406
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’16.040
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’16.272
4Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’16.357
5Charles LeclercFerrari1’16.588
6Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’16.708
7Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’16.911
8Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’16.922
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’17.573
10Daniel RicciardoRenault1’18.106

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2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

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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95 comments on “Bottas denies Hamilton by six-tenths to take third pole position in a row”

  1. Hats off to Russell.

    1. Yeah.. That’s the closest Williams have been to a midfield team in ages. 1.2 seconds quicker than your teammate is immense!

      1. That’s almost as good as 6 tenth in a Mercedes indeed,.

    2. +1.
      Massive performance.

  2. Let’s win all 21 races this season.

  3. It will be Russell in a Merc before Ocon , thats my bet

    1. the way Bottas goes at the moment, and Lewis being as good as he’s ever been with many years from retiring, none will be in a Merc that soon.

      1. @gechichan

        Lewis’s best season was 2007 when he equalled Alonso. He’s been beaten too many times by average team mates since then. Also been beaten many times by drivers in lesser cars.

        1. What you said has absolutely nothing to do with what @gechichan said.

          Why bother responding to anyone when you can leave your renowned troll comments to stand on their own?

    2. Demote Lewis to Williams? He’d still struggle with Kubicas pace!

  4. Ferrari’s just nowhere.

    1. Leclerc just nowhere

  5. Well, I’d never thought that I could use another verb starting from d to describe this.
    Destroys or demolishes would have been more suitable. This is literally the case.

  6. Bottas. Wow. Hamilton looked like he was seriously struggling with the car when trying to up the ante. But Bottas absolutely smashed it.

    1. Just noticed Russell was closer to getting out of Q1 in that Williams, than Ferrari was to beating Mercedes. Hahaha.

  7. Honestly….my jaw dropped when I saw that lap Bottas put in and I thought no way…if Ham best that time (and I am a Ham fan) then the man is a machine. It didn’t surprise me he didn’t beat the time but what did surprise me was the margin. I can’t recall Hamilton trailing a teammate by six tenths for ANY qually with all things being equal. That’s insane and I don’t think the pundits are expressing how great Bottas did. For the first time I am seriously thinking Bottas has a more than decent chance of beating Ham for the title this year. Epic qually. Great effort for Gros/Mag/Kyvat….Renault is still a disappointment to me at the moment scraping into the top 10 but at least beating the Mclarens. Don’t think we are gonna have an exciting race tomorrow though.

    1. My thoughts too, I can’t remember Hamilton being trounced by such a margin. OK so the second laps were all slower but he didn’t even get near to Bottas’s first lap. So 6 tenths off was Hamilton’s level today. That’s staggering.

      1. You’re overstating things quite a bit. It was effectively a single lap each, and Hamilton made a mistake on his, while Bottas didn’t. If Hamilton had put in a good lap and still been beaten by that margin, it really would be remarkable. As it is, we don’t have anything to compare Bottas’s lap against.

        1. Sorry, you’ve lost me. You’re arguing that we can’t say Hamilton put in a poor lap because Hamilton didn’t put in a good lap (i.e. put in a poor lap) so we can’t measure how good Bottas’s lap was?!

          Wolff said the size of the gap was down to Hamilton being unable to charge properly for his first lap. That still doesn’t account for the obvious scruffiness of Hamilton’s lap, final sector in particular, or the fact he came nowhere near again on the second run. I’m a Hamilton fan but Bottas made Lewis look very very average today.

          1. Suffering Williams Fan
            11th May 2019, 18:29

            I suspect Dave’s intent here was to note that the comparison wasn’t Bottas’ best against Hamilton’s best, rather it was Bottas’ best (or at least an excellent lap) against a pretty scrappy lap from Hamilton, and that had Hamilton had a second, representative lap in Q3 it would probably have been somewhat closer (I think Hamilton’s Q2 lap might actually have been a touch quicker than his Q3 lap).

          2. @david-br your choice of words shows your lack of humility or ounces of hate for a driver… everytime ham is beaten fair n square you guys are just partying and get on humiliation run… and when ham beats one another, you guys are on the meh anyone can do it with that engine wagon… the guy is a 5 time wdc, give him some slack…

            i suspect a lot of those sour grapes are either vet/ferrari fan or alonso’s left over sour lemons…

            party is tomorrow, not today…

          3. @mysticus I’m sad you think that, especially as you’ve agreed with me in the past when I’ve praised or defended Hamilton! Of course I don’t hate him, I’ve been a Hamilton supporter from the start of his career. I’m just surprised by the gap today. Plenty of times I’ve said the exact opposite, like last year when Lewis blew the field away in Spa qualifying, Singapore etc. You shouldn’t assume a negative comment is always partisan.

          4. No, I’m saying that Hamilton did put in a poor lap, with mistakes and possible slight car problems.

            Bottas could only beat what Hamilton provided, and it clearly wasn’t Hamilton’s best. Score one for Bottas for not making any mistakes, but you can’t count it as him beating Hamilton’s best by that margin, which would be a massive achievement.

            Bottas qualifying first in other races by smaller margins is more significant, because Hamilton’s not perfect and has messed up single laps before.

          5. @Dave OK, fair enough, but I disagree still. It’s usually clear that Hamilton messed up somewhere or was slightly off his best form on a particular track and lost to Bottas for that reason, with the strong sense that he could be as quicker or quicker in the race. This qualifying session seemed different, it wasn’t just Hamilton messed up, Bottas looked far better handling the car for whatever reason, and has done all weekend. Maybe it’s setup.

          6. I think we agree more than we disagree here. I’m not knocking Bottas at all, I think Hamilton is clearly the best driver of the modern era and even to do as well relative to him as Bottas managed last season is pretty good. This year has been very impressive indeed.

            It’s entirely plausible for Bottas to be more comfortable with the car on this track. It’s not as plausible that he’s beaten Hamilton by that margin without more than that advantage.

    2. Agree. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Bottas 2.0 isn’t just a myth … he’s the real deal this season.

    3. Vettel ruin Lewis out lap and Daniel gets on the way somehow. Lewis and Mercedes made mistake, that’s all. It just 2019 driver weight limit rule which really helps Valtteri to be closer.

      1. Or perhaps it was 2018 rule that helped hamilton being perceived quicker than he really was?

      2. @ruliemaulana So Hamilton’s weight (or lack thereof) was the only reason he was ahead?

        1. @mashiat No. I said it helps Valtteri to be closer now. Talent wise I still believe Lewis is better.

          1. @mashiat is right though, your argument suggests that Bottas is being assisted now, when really it should be phrased the other way round: all the lighter/smaller drivers were being assisted before.

    4. Well, Hamilton did screw up first time around, and the track was dead for everyone on the second run.

      Bottas did an incredible lap, no doubt, but Hamiltons mistake made it look even better.

    5. Did you watch the session? Or even read the article? No way is Bottas .6 faster. Sometimes situations occur that create unrealistic gaps as this is.

      1. @GPfan no, those sour lemons who are partying, only checks for results… when ham beats anyone, it is always his engine/car, but when he makes mistakes, he is 20000 feet under… lets see the comments after the race or better towards the end of the season…

        also for some reason ham’s performance engineer is switched sides, something the team has been doing every 2 years, when ham is stronger, his side of garage changes hand to other bit by bit… which is weird due to establishing bond only to swap it around to maximize total points as a team while screwing the better one’s relations…

        hope bottas doesnt turn it into a another rosberg era… which i m sure those sour commenters will be delighted to see for obvious reasons…

        1. Seems I’ve been hacked. That was not me. Been a few months since I have commented here.

        2. I’ve even logged in to say I’ve been hacked. Your message resulted in an e-mail being sent to me to say one has responded to “my” comment.

          Time Keith sorted this.

  8. Did Bottas find a secret shortcut? This is probably the first time I’ve seen Lewis destroyed by a teammate in qualy with both cars healthy.

    Leclerc was fairly dissapointing, closer to Gasly than to Max and Seb.

    1. Leclerc’s laps were the same as Vettel’s 2nd attempt. I think the track was just that much slower by the time he was doing his laps, not sure why. Maybe track temps.

    2. People already are so bored with Mercedes dominating, they do not ever bother to actually watch today’s qualifying. I simply do not have another explanation to the fact that quite a few people say how disappointing was Leclerc’s performance like they did not see footage with pieces of his Ferrari flying all over the track after his ride over the kerbs. Compare that to one missing fin at Hamilton’s car in Australia – everybody went crazy and discussed that for a whole two weeks.

      1. the damage on Leclerc’s car was self-inflicted, so driver error… hence the dissapointment.

  9. I am disappointed.
    But congratulations to Bottas, that was a hell of a lap.

  10. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    11th May 2019, 15:28

    It might be about time to mark Bottas down as an actual serious title contender….

  11. Alex McFarlane
    11th May 2019, 15:29

    Phenomenal lap by Bottas.

    Toto on Sky stated Lewis had a battery issue for his first flying lap, which could account for the gap (although he did look visibly scruffy in Q3), and with nobody improving their initial times it looks bigger than expected. Should be an interesting race between the pair tomorrow.

  12. Looks like Bottas 2.0 had some further upgrades to 2.1

    1. Bottas 2.0 SP3 Corporate Edition

      1. @ruliemaulana – Ah, we have another victim of Microsoft here, I see :)

    2. It is code-named “807745 2.0″

  13. Lewis was held up by traffic (Ricciardo)

    1. On both laps?

      1. Of course👍

  14. Lewis needs to collect his pension as he’s waaay too slow nowadays, this season could be very painful for him…..

    1. Hehehe..come on man… behave yourself. Let’s see what the situation is come Singapore.

    2. It’s only fair he goes out like a dim candle barely burning like his old teammate Alonso.

  15. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    11th May 2019, 15:55

    Not so fun fact (as a Williams fan):
    Robert’s lap would have took pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix by 3 tenths………. 10 years ago in 2009!

    1. @rdotquestionmark Wouldn’t have been the fastest time in qualifying though.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        11th May 2019, 18:31

        What do you mean? @Mashiat

        Kubica 1:20.2 – 2019
        Button 1:20.5 – 2009

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          11th May 2019, 18:36

          Although they had to carry more fuel back then.

          1. @rdotquestionmark Exactly. Cars in Q3 had to carry their race fuel load as well, so in Q2, the 2009 cars were much quicker.

  16. Hamilton should consider staying on the metgala catwalks, as his teammate is literally d-e-s-t-r-o-y-i-n-g him this season.
    Props to Valtteri, the real deal.

    1. Bottas the real deal hahahaha, he’s the same average Finn. Hamilton is clearly past it and that’s about it. I think Verstappen could get in the 13’s with the Mercedes…..

    2. The race for the first corner is going to be more important than the race for the pole. The LH issues made VB look really good…congrats to VB for taking advantage.

    3. @liko41, whilst credit is due to Bottas, at the same time it’s extremely hyperbolic to claim that Bottas is “destroying” Hamilton this season.

      Out of all drivers who have scored points, the difference between Bottas and Hamilton, at one point, is in fact the smallest points difference between team mates. Before this race the qualifying split was 2-2 each, with an average time difference of 0.024s between Bottas and Hamilton – one of the smallest average differences in lap time on the grid – and their average grid position was exactly the same (2.00).

      If what actually seems to have been a fairly evenly matched situation is one that is defined as Bottas “destroying” Hamilton, what on earth do you think of every other comparison between team mates where there is an even bigger difference in performance between team mates?

    4. For today’s qualy your comment might be valid but declarations of being past it?? Behave! i just know alot of you will take the slightest sniff of lewis failure to rip him to peices, but we are currently 5 races in to the season. A little premature to declare Lewis done. Valterri deserves a lot of credit and I for one do not want to take anything away from his performance today. Well done Valterri.

    5. Funniest comment yet.. destroying him? He was actually faster 1 of the 4 races. Hamilton was clearly faster or every bit as fast in Baku. 2-2 . If that is “destroying” then what did Hamilton do to Bottas last year when he was often as much as 3-4 positions ahead on track? Or in 17? Annihilate? The way people get so hyperbolic when Hamilton is ever beaten is actually comical. Let’s see where they are in points at the end. There is a reason all the betting agencies have Hamilton as the favorite and I would personally wager against anyone, $500 says Hamilton wins the WDC

  17. people who have been criticising VET, fair enough, should really be fair: Bottas had been doing better than Ham this year, by a larger margin than Leclerc x Vettel.

    1. Lewis has managed to keep his car pointing the right way though. Just something to think about.


    -Bottas 2.0

  19. I dont think this will deteriorate into Ham/Ros as Bottas is not as keen to get his elbows out and stick them in your kidneys ………….. however ……. it is about to take a turn of some sort because the whole happy happy is due to Lewis “knowing” he can beat Bottas ….if that starts to even look in doubt, their relationship has got to suffer a bit, its natural because at present it looks like one of them will be the WDC

    1. Lewis will be the one with elbows out tomorrow. He seems utterly frustrated and that’s not a good thing.

      1. Agreed but the thing is Bottas will have his elbows out as well. His isn’t going to give up the lead so easily. He is well and truly hungry this time around.

        1. Bottom line is Lewis needs to get it together. When/If he does he will be WDC. At present it seems like Valterri is going to be more of a challenge than he thought but put the pressure on Lewis and 9 times out of 10 he delivers. Hopefully today has made him realise this won’t be a cake walk especially as it seems this will be a Merc championship battle. My money is firmly on Lewis but you got to admire Bottas driving at present.

      2. And let’s put this in perspective. Whike Valterri is driving the season of his life so far, there is currently 1 point in the WDC. Lewis has fought back from much greater deficits.

    2. If its one thing that we can take from today its that this years wdc will be driving a mercedes. I think vettel / leclerc should really start hammering this point home to their advantage much like mercedes have done so far.

  20. It’s 2016 again.. The championship is between the two Mercedes drivers again. Ferrari are crap and most probably going to endure a winless season. Only two things to look out for – are RedBull fast enough to snatch a few wins like 2016? Will Bottas beat Hamilton?

    1. But but…..they have the “fastest” car!!! (or so that a what the media keeps saying)

  21. At what point do we start calling him Bottas 3.0?

    1. I’d honestly call him 3.0 if he keeps this form after the summer break. That’d show he has what it takes to fight for a WDC.

  22. Got impressed by BOT today! 0.6 over HAM in the tables is quite something. The Dark Wing Rises?

    Ferrari are still the favourites though. If LEC got a tow from, Idk, Millenium Falcon, surely he would be on pole.

  23. georgeboole (@)
    11th May 2019, 18:47

    Hats off to Bottas great drive and a new track record.
    I like the way he drives clean, keeping all four wheels on track, unlike others.
    Was Bottas talking to Rosberg before the start of the season or is it just a serious update?

    1. “all four wheels on track”
      Yep, I noticed that too; impressive !

  24. Ham is getting cooked by Bottas

  25. There is a BOT in one of the Mercs

  26. Lewis – is that you?

  27. Vettel can’t beat Leclerc? Bottas denies Hamilton? Everyone resists Hamilton? No agenda to see here, move along guys.

  28. there is a lot of vet/ferrari fans from autosports channel as usual…

    1. @mysticus

      Why don’t you go back to the autosport kindergarten forum with your accusations instead of stinking up these boards.

  29. That in-car cam lap was worth the price of admission, VB was smooth as silk, like the car was on rails.. Respect !

  30. @mysticus

    Why would Vettel and Alosno fans have sour grapes be shown when Bottas beats Lewis? 2007 was Lewis’s best season. From the very next season Alonso beat him in lesser machinary and for several seasons. Vettel won 4 x WCs. Lewis was also regulary beaten by Button and Rosberg at the same time as still no team mate outscored Alonso. Verstappen and Riccairdo also went on to beat Lewis in slower cars.

    It should be no surprise to anyone that Lewis is being beaten by a team mate again. and/or having one of his regualr season off-periods

    1. Oh, but his majesty’s can’t be beaten by any regular human being ;)

    2. Yes.From now on we’re all going to pretend that the 2015 season never happened to keep narrative alive that Alonso was never outscored by a teammate. Some Alonso fans are really delusional. Lol

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