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Spanish Grand Prix 2023

Verstappen smashes Spanish Grand Prix pole; Perez 11th, Leclerc 19th

Max Verstappen will lead the field away, joined on the front-row in Spain by Carlos Sainz with Lando Norris third.

Max Verstappen qualified nearly half-a-second clear of the Formula 1 field to grab pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix as Sergio Perez was only 11th with Charles Leclerc 19th.

A 1:12.272 was good enough for the World Champion to secure a first Barcelona pole and the 24th of his career, being joined on the front row by Carlos Sainz.

Sainz could only manage a lap 0.462s slower than Verstappen, but was still half-a-tenth clear of Lando Norris in the McLaren who delivered a season best result.

Pierre Gasly qualified fourth, but faces two investigations by the FIA for impeding, one of which involves pole-man Verstappen in Q1.

Perez could only manage 11th in a torrid session for the Mexican as Leclerc was dumped out in Q1 having complained of car problems in the sessions, with home favourite Fernando Alonso being out-qualified by Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll for the first time, managing only ninth.

Result Qualification - Spanish

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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In the Q3 shootout, Verstappen's only flying lap of a 1:12.272 ultimately proved good enough for pole as he uniquely took a fresh set of Softs for the first run.

Lewis Hamilton had slotted into second place, nearly 0.9s down, but the Mercedes was the first runner on used tyres.

Once the field switched to their new sets, Sainz improved from fifth to second, pumping in a 1:12.6 to join Verstappen on the front-row, with Norris 0.520s behind the pace of the World Champion.

Verstappen had actually gone purple in the second sector on his second push lap, but ultimately elected to abandon the effort, safe in the knowledge that pole was secure.

Gasly was fourth for Alpine, pipping Hamilton by 0.002s to the second row slot, with Stroll out-qualifying Alonso on the latter's home circuit, although damage was incurred on the AMR23 of Alonso after a Q1 off at the final corner.

Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg and Oscar Piastri rounded out the top 10.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages


In Q2, both Perez and Russell were eliminated at the death, only managing P11 and P12.

An off for Perez on his final run at Turn 5 halted his progress, and he missed the cutline by 0.051s, with Hulkenberg surviving through to Q3.

Russell was involved in a tangle with teammate Hamilton as he too failed to advance through to the final segment, 0.164s behind the Haas of Hulkenberg.

Russell moved across on Hamilton on the pit-straight while passing the slow Sainz, forcing the #44 into the grass and breaking the front-left end-plate on the front-wing.

Zhou Guanyu, Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda were the other eliminees as the Dutchman survived multiple spins in Q1 to advance through and ultimately out-qualify his teammate.

Up front, Verstappen's first lap of a 1:12.760 was enough for top spot, just 0.016s ahead of Norris, with Sainz 0.030s behind the Red Bull.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Leclerc out in Q1

After the initial runs ended with Gasly fastest after Hulkenberg's time was deleted for track limits, a red flag was thrown after an off for Alex Albon at Turn 5 with the Williams throwing a load of gravel over the racing line - with Leclerc not going out until the session had resumed.

The Ferrari struggled on his first lap, being nearly three seconds off the pace of Verstappen and his last flying lap was only good enough for 11th.

As further laps were completed, he slid down the order and qualified 19th fastest - sharing the back row with Logan Sargeant.

Valtteri Bottas was caught out at the treacherous Turn 11, and was knocked out along with Kevin Magnussen and Albon.

Hamilton was fastest in the segment, a healthy 0.358s up on Norris in P2 with Russell slotting into third with Verstappen down in ninth.

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to ask if Mattia Binotto could really join Alpine, what Pirelli's new tyres are about and the latest on the Red Bull-Ford partnership!

F1 2023 Spanish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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