Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claimed his fourth pole of the season with the Monegasque driver recovering from a spin on his first attempt to top the qualifying session for the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix comfortably.
His title rival Max Verstappen will lineup alongside him, despite the Red Bull star losing power during his final attempt. Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz will start third with Mr.Saturday George Russell putting in a stellar performance to claim fourth.
While the advantage lies with Ferrari, the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya will be demanding on the tyres, meaning that the pit stop strategy employed by the teams could play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the race.
With Red Bull having the upper in terms of race pace, there is still a lot to play for ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.
What are Pirelli saying?
Given the demand of the Barcelona race track, Pirelli has opted to bring their hardest range of tyres to the event. The C1 compound tyre will serve as the hards, the C2 are dubbed the mediums and the C3 are the weekend’s softest compound tyre.
The Italian tyre brand state that a two-stopper is the way to go, with Pirelli citing Lewis Hamilton’s strategy from last year as the most optimum way to complete the Grand Prix. The tyre manufacturer expects the drivers to employ the soft tyre to start the race before switching the mediums and ending the race on the soft tyre.
“It’s hard to say much about Barcelona that hasn’t been said already, as it’s possibly the best-known circuit on the calendar for the drivers, with its wide-ranging layout making it a perfect testing venue,” Pirelli’s director of motorsport Mario Isola said.
“It has a bit of everything, with the very technical final sector being particularly important when it comes to looking after the tyres.
“As a result, the teams will have a good opportunity to assess the progress they have made with their cars since the start of the season, although the weather conditions will be much warmer and there will probably be a lot more running on the hard tyre than there was in testing, which will perhaps be the key to the race.
“In the past, Barcelona has traditionally been a two-stopper, so it will be interesting to see if the new generation of tyres this year leads anyone to target a one-stopper.”
Subplots to look for
Mercedes has taken another big step forward in the development of the W13 with Russell, in particular, enjoying the latest set of upgrades. The British driver has made a habit of finishing in the top 5 and after securing his best starting position of 2022, could be a dark horse for a place on the podium.
Haas’ Mick Schumacher could be another driver to watch with the German entering Q3 for the first time in his career. Schumacher has so far failed to score points in his Formula 1 career and he will be determined to convert his best-ever qualifying position into points during the race.
While Russell and Schumacher punched above their weight, McLaren’s Lando Norris had a disappointing qualifying session with the British driver failing to get out of Q2. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo will start ninth, meaning that the McLaren driver has the pace to move up the order come race day.