Come the end of qualifying to decide the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel (1.25.458) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.26.414) finished in third and seventh places respectively. Track conditions were still difficult this afternoon and it was in the final sector of the track that the two Mercedes carved out their advantage, on their way to locking out the front row. Nico Rosberg is on pole with a 1.24.681 ahead of Lewis Hamilton (1.24.948). []

Final Times:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m24.681s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m24.948s 0.267s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m25.458s 0.777s
4 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m25.694s 1.013s
5 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m26.136s 1.455s
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m26.249s 1.568s
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.414s 1.733s
8 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m26.629s 1.948s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m26.757s 2.076s
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m26.770s 2.089s
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m27.375s 2.694s
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m27.450s 2.769s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m27.760s 3.079s
14 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m27.854s 3.173s
15 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m28.005s 3.324s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m28.112s 3.431s
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m28.365s 3.684s
18 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m28.442s 3.761s
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m31.200s 6.519s
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m32.038s 7.357s


From – Kimi: “So far the weekend has been more difficult than I wanted and today I was still struggling, for some reason my car was sliding around. After a difficult Friday I decided together with the team to go back to the old package because I wanted to make sure it was fine. We knew it would be a risk and it might be difficult but I don’t think that the result would have been as bad as it was today. In Q2 the feeling was pretty ok but then in Q3 it was difficult again, I had not much grip and did a bad lap. It’s one of those weekends in which things keep going a little wrong here and there, and today we also lost one set of Medium tyres because of a burning of a blanket. Tomorrow is another day and the race is a different story, obviously we start in a position that is not ideal , but we have a good package. If we have a good start we can go from there, I’m sure we have the speed to have a good race”.

From – Kimi: “We had one new set of tyres we could have used in last qualifying but for some freak reason it got burnt in a blanket and destroyed. But that is part of the game. It’s been a difficult few days but tomorrow is the race so hopefully we can score good points.”

Ferrari brought a major update package to Spain, but after Raikkonen struggled for pace in Friday practice he reverted back to the Bahrain set-up. The Finn said it was his decision to do so and denied that had anything to do with his poor grid slot. Instead, he put the error down to the conditions and his own mistakes.

“It was my decision plus the team’s. We changed the car to the old package because I wasn’t sure about it as yesterday was a difficult day. I wanted to make sure this was OK and if the new package was working as it should.When you make the decision obviously it is a lot of work to change. There was no chance to change it back but I’m happy to take the risk. I don’t think the outcome would have been as bad but for the last part of qualifying. The car felt good in the morning and in qualifying, too, but the last set [of tyres] in Q3 gave me poor grip and it was a bad lap. I was prepared to take the risk and it was working OK up until that point. It is what it is.”

From – Kimi: “It has been a difficult few days. We kept changing things, but nothing seems to make much sense. It doesn’t make our life easy for tomorrow. Okay maybe here it should be easier to overtake, but you always put yourself in with more chances of something going wrong in the first few corners when you are more in the middle of the pack. We will just go forward and do the best we can – it is a long race and we should have the speed to do pretty well. I think we can still get a good race out of it. It is not the end of the life, but I’d rather take better positions from qualifying than this. Obviously it has been a tricky few days, but it is not the first time for me, but as I say, it’s a long race.”

Post-qualifying press conference – Q: (Luigi Perna – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Could you explain why you and Kimi choose two different configurations – aerodynamic configurations – on the car? You with the new one and Kimi the old one. The reasons and why the different choice.

Sebastian Vettel: Very simple. We didn’t have the best day yesterday I believe. We both were not entirely happy with how the car felt. I think, as I mentioned before, it was probably tricky conditions this weekend, quite windy, I think the tyres are not working for us as they maybe used to. So, we were not sure about where we were and we decided to split the cars for today.


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