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Hamilton storms to Barcelona pole


We've been here before, haven't we?

We've been given that wicked little glimpse that we're on the verge of something special, only to have the rug pulled from under us, and the Silver Arrows steamroller continues.

If not based on this morning's evidence, one only need look back to yesterday, or pre-season testing for those with longer memories, to see that Ferrari goes well here on the soft tyres.

Earlier, Nico Rosberg led another Mercedes 1-2 in FP3, but Sebastian Vettel was only 0.147 off his countryman's pace. Raikkonen was sixth, but this was more the result of traffic than not having the pace.

Clearly Ferrari is strong here, thing is, what, if anything, does Mercedes have in reserve.

In all three sessions Rosberg has outshone his teammate however, this morning the German had to abort his first attempt at a qualifying run following a sensor issue, and we all know about Lewis' issues this season.

Then there's Ferrari, where, other that Daniil Kvyat, poor reliability has taken its toll in the opening four races.

Finishing fourth and fifth earlier, Red Bull looks strong, with Max Verstappen wasting no time in settling in with the Austrian team. It's likely that Ricciardo would have been quicker but for a couple of minor, but time costly, mistakes later in the lap.

Behind these three, Williams appears to have the edge over Force India and Toro Rosso, with McLaren continuing to show signs of improvement.

Haas has struggled in all three sessions, but looks likely to hold its own over Renault and financially compromised Sauber.

There are only a few changes to the circuit since last year, the kerbs having been renewed and drainage improved at Turns One, Two, Four, Five, Nine, 12 and 15, the work carried out over the winter in time for the pre-season testing.

As for the DRS zones, the first has a detection point 86m before T9 and an activation point 40m after, whilst the second detection point is at the Safety Car line, with activation 157m after T16.

Tyres available this weekend are hard, medium and soft. The hard is seen for the first time this year, but no driver has chosen more than one set. The medium, is a versatile tyre that is a good compromise between performance and durability while the soft, though more than a second faster, is unlikely to last for long.

Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 22 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 42 degrees. It remains bright and sunny. Despite UBIMET's claim that there would be storms, the current threat of rain remains at 10%.

The lights go green and Wehrlein is first out, followed by Manor teammate Haryanto. Both are on the softs.

Wehrlein posts 26.148 but is instantly eclipsed by his teammate who posts 26.048.

The Force India duo head out, both sporting hards.

As Ericsson goes quickest with a 25.953, both Mercedes are on track.

Hamilton goes quickest in S1, but then Rosberg goes quicker. Hamilton is quickest in S2, whilst Rosberg can only manage a PB. At the line Hamilton posts 23.214, Rosberg posting 23.002 moments later having been quickest in S3.

As Raikkonen comes out to play the force India duo now appear to have switched to softs, Perez goes third (24.698) whilst Hulkenberg goes fourth with a 25.125.

Sainz goes third with a 24.496 but is demoed by Raikkonen (23.796) and then Verstappen, who takes third with a 23.578.

Vettel goes fifth (24.124) having posted PBs in all three sectors.

A 24.578 sees Alonso go seventh, though he is demoted when Bottas posts 24.251 to take sixth. Teammate Massa can only manage 13th ((24.941).

Ricciardo slots into fourth with a (23.749), just behind his teammate.

Button posts 25.012 to go fifteenth.

With less than three minutes remaining, Palmer, Grosjean, Nasr, Ericsson and the Manor duo comprise the drop zone, with Hulkenberg, Button and Massa hovering.

A PB in S1 for Hulkenberg, likewise Palmer, Haryanto and Grosjean. Another PB is S2 for Hulkenberg, whilst palmer loses time. At the line Hulkenberg posts 24.463 to go eighth, dropping Button into the danger zone.

Massa's day is already over, the Brazilian still in the pits as the Grove outfit appears to have run out of time.

Late improvements for Grosjean, Gutierrez and Button, is bad news for Palmer who misses the cut.

Rosberg is quickest, ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Gutierrez, Hulkenberg and Sainz.

We lose Palmer, Massa, Ericsson, Nasr, Wehrlein and Haryanto.

A brief glimpse of the flags over the grandstand show the wind is really picking up.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.


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1. Posted by F One, 14/05/2016 20:10

"Can't the FIA just ban Mercedes for killing F1?"

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