Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso rue qualifying mistakes at the Spanish Grand Prix
Both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso admitted that mistakes kept them from joining Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the front row for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Both drivers claimed that mistakes in Turn 10 on their last qualifying runs prevented them from passing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for second place.
Hamilton, who stated that he is “genuinely really happy” with the improved Mercedes, will start fourth.
Alonso said he might have finished second despite breaking his car’s floor in an off-track incident, but then ran wide on his penultimate lap while on course for a second-place finish.
The two-time champion admitted to being “disappointed” with his own performance.
Both Alonso and Sainz will start ninth because Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, who qualified fourth fastest, was punished with two three-place grid penalties for impeding Verstappen and Sainz in separate incidents.
Verstappen on pole for Spanish Grand Prix following thrilling qualifying Hamilton said: “To be fighting for P2 was a big surprise.” We put in a lot of effort overnight, and the automobile felt so much better this morning.
“So these improvements have definitely worked, so a big thank you to everyone at home.” Extremely encouraging.
“If I were competing for a championship, I might be a little more frustrated that I lost 0.2 seconds in Turn 10, but I’ll try to make it up tomorrow.”
Mercedes unveiled a major redesign of their car in Monaco last weekend, but they have always insisted that the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain would provide the first true indication of its performance because its combination of long corners at varying speeds is a comprehensive test for Formula 1 cars’ aerodynamics.
Toto Wolff, team principal, described the redesigned Mercedes’ performance as “solid” due to reworked sidepods, floor, and front suspension.
“I believe in the package,” stated Wolff. “It’s a new starting point.” It is something to work on without having to question specific sections of the vehicle, and this is what we are doing now.”
The new concept represents a rejection of Mercedes’ distinctive design philosophy for the new regulations proposed for 2022, which Wolff indicated they would have to ditch at the first race of this season if the team did not make the progress they had planned.
“We had to realize that the path we took simply didn’t work,” he explained. “We are an eight-time world champion team that just got it wrong last year.”
“We tried to figure out what we didn’t understand, things improved toward the end of the season, the regulations were changed, which we misinterpreted, and here we are, starting from scratch.”
“The knowledge will be extremely useful in the future.”
Wolff attributed a collision between Hamilton and teammate George Russell during qualifying to “miscommunication.”
Hamilton was attempting to pass Russell on the outside down the pit straight but was unaware that his teammate, who was also beginning a flying lap, was unaware of his presence.