Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Removal of chicane allows Verstappen to break 18-year-old Catalunya course record

Lap time watch: 2023 Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen set the fastest ever lap of the Circuit de Catalunya as he claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver could have gone even quicker, as he backed out of his final run in qualifying when it became clear no one would beat his lap of 1’12.272. Team mate Sergio Perez had been eliminated in Q2.

The decision to bypass the chicane at the end of the lap, which was installed in 2007, has seen lap times plummet at the Circuit de Catalunya. In Monaco a week ago some teams were slower than they had been a year before, but there was never a chance that would be the case at this track.

Verstappen’s time beat the previous record, set by Ralf Schumacher in a Toyota TF105 with a V10 normally aspirated engine in 2005. The circuit layout then was largely the same as it is now, except for turn 10, which was slightly tighter.

Ralf Schumacher’s 18-year-old record fell
The surprise performance of the weekend came from McLaren. Having been the least-improved team at the Monaco Grand Prix, where they were four-tenths of a second slower than the year before, they were the second most-improved team in Spain. Only Aston Martin have found more time at this circuit year-on-year.

Ferrari did not expect their upgraded SF-23 to provide an immediate gain in performance, but they must be disappointed to find every single one of their rivals found more time around the Barcelona track than they did. Their cause wasn’t helped by Charles Leclerc encountering a mystery loss of grip in qualifying, which led to last year’s pole-winner dropping out in Q1.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Teams’ performance

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Field performance

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

    Browse all 2023 Spanish Grand Prix articles

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    2 comments on “Removal of chicane allows Verstappen to break 18-year-old Catalunya course record”

    1. So the fastest 2006 Q2 time wasn’t the previous fastest ever on any configuration, after all, nor even a faster one in testing earlier that year AFAIA, but some 2005 testing time.
      Oh well, faster nevertheless, & yes, he could’ve gone even quicker, perhaps below 1m12s, so I was surprised he abandoned despite P1 already being safe.
      However, without the rain today, he would’ve most certainly gone faster earlier in qualifying & thus below 1m12s by that point already, but next season if/when the rain won’t affect any running, given its rareness on Spanish GP weekends, & with general evolution within stable technical regs.

      1. Would have made sense to included Ralf’s time in the article even if turn 10 used to be slightly tighter. Anyway, Kimi did a 1:14 and change in 2005 quali when they still qualified on many gallons of fuel.

    Comments are closed.